High5Test - Make Sure You are Not a Fish Climbing a Tree

— Albert Einstein

Last month I was contacted by a new service, HIGH5TEST. It’s similar to StrengthsFinder, which like DISC or Myers Briggs are professional assessment tools. HIGH5TEST’s commitment is as follows: changing the world by helping people understand and appreciate themselves and each other.

YES! I am all for that and it’s partly what I do when I compose a client’s resume. And to do a magnificent job of representing a person I don’t know, on paper, I need each person to define him or herself. I need to know why she is good at what she does, what drives him to deliver, what kind of methodology inspires her work, and which skills or talents propel his results.

This is why I have long asked clients who find if difficult to define themselves to consider taking Gallup’s StrengthsFinder test. And now I have a new one to add as a choice, the HIGH5TEST.

I took this test and LOVED my results - they are me to a “T.” My top five (they provide 20 strengths in sequence) explain why I am pretty good at what I do! Here they are:

Philomath - in love with learning. You have to be, to read through clients’ homework questionnaires, job postings, performance evaluations, life stories and professional details. Some clients have remarkably rich "brag” files and have sent me well over 30 pages of information. I read constantly and learn an awful lot!

Coach - enjoy discovering the potential in other people. Precisely. Many cannot see their own value, their own greatness, but I sure can. And I know the questions to ask to source professional value. Even those who were let go due to restructuring or other reasons feel confident about finding a new opportunity after we wrap up our project.

Deliverer - follow through on their commitments. I could not be self employed if this were not so.

Empathizer - great at noticing how others feel and using this understanding to do something good. I know that my resumes and letters do good: they land great interviews for amazing jobs!

Optimist - enjoy giving praise on what’s right about people. That’s my work, to dig out the nuggets of golden value that each client brings to the recruitment table. They are there, just often buried under regrets, over-focus on short-comings, and a very real and unfortunate neglect of strengths!

If you struggle with noting what makes you so good at what you do (here’s a hint: if you say “I’m just doing my job,” that’s a good sign this is for you), take the HIGH5TEST. So often a small investment can make a considerable difference, a positive impact. This is one of those cases! Find out what makes you GREAT!

Communicating Expertise and Brand

Once you've held a position long enough, you'll develop a level of expertise.  Malcolm Gladwell suggests that it takes about 10,000 hours to become an expert, or in his words a "phenom," or someone who delivers beyond typical expertise.

(After many years in a position, if you haven't developed expertise, I'd venture to say that you're in the wrong job)

This leads me to share a story of a recent client who wrote:

Hi Stephanie,

I had some feedback on my LinkedIn summary today that was less than complementary (sic). I was told:

The definition of an out-of-the-box creative, (I would reword this, as it sounds cocky)

Do you think there is another way of putting this?


Now, before I tell you how I responded and how this question played out, you need to know that this client is beyond an expert: he is a phenom. One of those people who is in the right job, using innate talents augmented by educational credentials and hands-on experience who over-exceeds expectations.

His accomplishments are in the remarkable if not legendary category. I wish I could give you details, but because of client confidentiality I cannot. Truly, he is outstanding in his field. And yet ...

He needs help landing a job. I'd say that the main reason he needs help is because he wasn't ready to "own" his awesomeness! He was hiding behind mediocrity to a degree, bringing his work down to a more common denominator.

Here's my response:

My question is - how do you feel about this? If you can stand behind it and feel that that is you, you likely don't need to change it.

I certainly don't mind changing, just want to make sure that you need to change it. One person's opinion is just that, one opinion!

Here are some alternatives;

- "Out of the box" solutions are my forte
- Known for arriving at solutions that escape others,
- Having developed a solid reputation for innovation

Do any of these resonate with you?

Our conversation went on a bit, and I presented the idea that when a company who needs a strong innovator, a company that is truly ready for change, reads his summary, that company will appreciate the language and reach out to him.

On reflection, he said that he is ready to embrace his value, and he doesn't feel that the orginal version overstates his abilities.

Disclaimer: To protect my client's privacy, I changed the actual phrase used in his LinkedIn. The phrase above is not as elegant as the one used in his summary, but it serves the purpose!