Defining or re-defining your values

If you’ve been in the same job for a long time, it may well be that you’ve so keenly adopted your employer’s professional values, that you’ve left your own professional values unquestioned for a long period of time.  When you’re looking to change jobs or when you’re entering the workplace for the first time, it’s all too easy to say that you want great prospects, a great package and that’s it.  If you’re thinking this way, then it’s maybe time to think again.

There’s been much study in recent years on the subject of happiness and some of the findings are really interesting.  One of the key things that seems to be coming out of all the research is that money doesn’t necessarily make people happier and in fact, the difference between having enough money to live a reasonable life and being really wealthy has been shown to have little impact on the true happiness of the people involved.  So what this means is that chasing a job just for the remuneration package might backfire if it’s happiness you’re on the lookout for.

In order to be happy in your job, one of the key things that needs to be right is the “fit” between the employer’s values and your own values.  Typically an employer will look for things like integrity, accountability, diligence and perseverance in the people they employ, but deciding if you have those values and how you can demonstrate them to a potential employer can be a tough call.  So how do you go about defining or re-defining your values before going after your dream aviation job with all guns blazing?  Here’s some pointers that might help:

  • Be clear on what you mean by values. Things like creativity, confidence, innovation, thrift and inventiveness are all values that you’ll hear people commonly speak about.  If you’re struggling to find terms for your values, you might prefer to think of them as your principles, your standards or what you believe to be important in life.

  • Take a close look at yourself and your behaviour inside work and out. Most of us have common threads running through how we live our lives and how we interact with others.  It may be that truthfulness is high on your personal and professional agenda (and so it should be) or it could be that the thing that you strive most to do is to deliver on your promises.  Either way, these common threads are worth looking at in order to establish what your natural core values are.

  • Write down your findings. When you’ve looked at these common strands that run through your life, write them down and invest a bit of time looking at and thinking about them.  Do they say what you want to say about yourself to your potential aviation employer or do you find them surprising or even shocking?  If you are happy with the findings then you simply need to start describing them in a way that appeals to a potential employer, but if you’re unhappy with them, it’s time to look at re-defining those values, which is a tad more complicated.

  • Work out the values that you think matter most. From the values that you have identified, spend some time thinking about which fit you best and which you feel are the most important to an aviation employer and choose your Top 3.  These should become your core values and should be the elements that you use to appeal to a potential aviation employer.

  • Turn your values into benefits. When your values have been identified, analysed and put into order, it’s time to turn them into benefits to your potential employer.  By means of example, if you identify “Industry, diligence and perseverance” as your key value, you could describe it as a benefit in this way:  “I finish what I start.  No matter the project, I make sure it’s completed in a timely fashion.  I’m not one to get distracted and I get huge satisfaction from completing tasks.  This means that your projects will be completed on time and on budget every time.

Once you have your values identified, defined and worded, use them to your advantage in your CV, covering letter and at interview and of course, don’t forget to live up to them day-in and day-out!

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