You keep track of the stats in the game but how do you score yourself in your career? Whether you’re an active job seeker or a happily employed professional, it’s a good idea to know how you rank. And not just in terms of your own office, but in your overall career progression. A career scorecard can help give you an idea of both your abilities and value. It’s great to have on-hand as you head into an interview or salary negotiation.
Building Your Scorecard
Start with a chart that lists key attributes. Include leadership, teamwork, communication, and technical skills relevant to your industry (this may include proficiency with a specific software or hardware, or specific programs you have responsibility to manage). Then pick your metric (1-5 often works well), and give yourself a ranking. Be honest about where you could use improvement. In areas where you think you’re at the top of the game, consider who would agree with you – a mentor, a co-worker or supervisor. (If you list yourself as a 5 for teamwork, for instance, be sure you can think of specific examples where you’ve worked particularly well with others/used that talent to move a project forward or accomplish an objective).
Your scorecard should largely consist of skills you need now (and that you can and should be rated on), but it can also include skills you think you’ll need for a future position. And while the inclination may be to copy the same criteria used for your annual review, your personal scorecard should be your own. Most companies use universal formulas designed to rate everyone fairly. You may possess skills more unique to your personality and background. Feel free to write your personal scorecard and then compare it to your annual review – are there criteria your company doesn’t consider important that you rank highly in, and that you use to be successful? Make sure you bring up those areas during your annual review. We all have strengths that may not be a part of our job, but that nonetheless contribute to our success. Sometimes those strengths can become a new career path entirely, or can pave the way to new opportunities in your current position.
Don’t Show Your Cards
Should you show your score card to a boss or interviewer? Probably not, but the notes are good to review and have on hand. Consider keeping your scorecard with you during your annual review. Many of us walk into that negotiation with a stack of paperwork – completed projects, email accolades – but having too much documentation can mean you forget to mention half of it. Better to have a high-level understanding of your strengths and where you’d like to improve. If there are key areas where you need improvement, make the case for professional development. Employers know no one is perfect. If you acknowledge your weaknesses, it shows you’d like to improve – and that’s a good thing.
Few of us are good at objectively evaluating our abilities. Most of us either think too highly of what we offer, or too low. Evaluating yourself using a career scorecard once every 3-6 months is a great way to gauge current performance and match it with future opportunities. If you’re currently unemployed, it’s a great exercise to remind you of what your strengths are and how to highlight those during your next interview.