Every company would love to hire one of the very top performers in its industry. These people are the top five to 10 percent of their peer group, and are collectively referred to as A players, top talent, or rock stars. As professionals, we would all like to think we are in that category, but is there an objective way to score ourselves? Well, it’s more of an art than a science, but here are six questions to ask yourself to get a rough idea of where you sit now, and perhaps identify some areas that you could target for improvement.
1. Job history. Employers want candidates who will stay with their company for many years. They perceive that the best way to predict this is based on past performance. How many jobs have you had in the past 10 years?
A. One or two, and I am currently employed
B. One or two, and I am not currently employed
D. Four or more
2. Track record of accomplishments. In your current role, which is most the most accurate statement?
A. I have taken initiatives and led projects that have had tangible, significant results to which I can attach a dollar figure.
B. I have been a key part of teams that produced significant results, but it’s difficult to quantify those results.
C. I do my job well, but the nature of my job doesn’t allow for quantifiable results.
3. Ability to work with others. Which sentence best describes you?
A. I work well with everyone and am typically one of the leaders when I am part of a team.
B. I work well with most, but my personality is not a good fit with certain types of people.
C. I work better by myself — that’s just who I am.
4. Ability to communicate. You must be very honest with yourself on this one.
A. I have no problem making a presentation to a room full of professionals, and afterwards I’m complimented on the presentation.
B. Making presentations isn’t my favorite thing, but I can do it.
C. If asked to make a presentation, I will look for a way to get out of it.
5. Your personal brand. Which category best fits you?
A. My resume was (or looks like it was) written by a professional. My LinkedIn profile is consistent with my resume, and it has a professional photo and a couple of recommendations.
B. My resume accurately conveys all my experience, education, and accomplishments. I have a LinkedIn profile but I probably haven’t checked it in a year or more.
C. I have a resume but need to update it. I’m not sure if I have a LinkedIn profile.
D. My resume has a typo on it: My last job title wasn’t really Production Manger. I can’t believe spell-check didn’t catch that.
6. Education and training. Which of the following best describes you?
A. I have at least the degree for the position one level above my current role.
B. I have the degree that is typically required for my position.
C. I worked my way up, but do not have the degree that is usually required for what I do.
Each time you answered A, give yourself 3 points; B, 2 points; and C, 1 point. D? Do you really have to ask?
15 to 18 points – you are a bona fide rock star.
12 to 14 points – you are on your way to becoming a rock star; set a few goals for the coming year based on the questions where you were not able to give an A answer.
Less than 11 points – you need to be honest with yourself if you want to advance your career and develop a plan on how to get there.
About the author
Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at [email protected].