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July 23, 2010


Who are you?

by mikediliberto

I was recently speaking a friend, helping him to position himself for a job hunt following a layoff at his firm (the second time I’ve done this in the past month, actually).  One of the first questions that I asked is, “who are you?”.  I asked him to give me a 30 second elevator speech about who he was, to sell himself to me.

It is amazing how many people that I talk to have a hard time with what, at first glance, seems like a simple task. Later on, I was thinking about what I would say if someone asked me for my elevator speech.  So I tried it.  Out loud.  While home alone.  After fumbling for about 2 minutes, I realized I needed to work on my own elevator speech.

A wise co-worker of mine once gave me some great advice on personal positioning.  He made that point that we all need to look at ourselves as products, with unique selling propositions, instead of just “features”.  When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. So many resumes (yes, mine included) do little more than list off our features, yet this is not how people buy;  we buy based on the uniqueness of the whole package.  So I set out to define myself in terms of my unique selling proposition, instead of just my features.

I am happy to report that I’ve made some progress, to wit:

First, I started with those things that I most passionate about.  For me, it’s sales, technology, and retail merchandising. Honestly, that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.  But check this out:  if you put those three passions in a Venn Diagram (ok, nerd alert!), every single job that I’ve ever had fits into one of the intersections.  This might not be that big a deal to some of you, but for this guy it was a major epiphany.

My Life in Three Circles

There are lot of other ingredients in the recipe of Mike Diliberto, like my love of travel, my need to be constantly challenged, my desire for personal growth that manifests itself in constant requests for feedback (welcome to being a member of Gen Y, right?), and lots more.  The most important things, those that are foundational, are the three that I listed above.  If you can imagine the pyramid diagram from Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs , my “passion trifecta venn diagram” (yes, I named it)occupies the base of the pyramid, with other ingredients on the higher levels.

So, I’m not sure that my resume should be a Venn Diagram (though, it seems like an interesting idea…of course, first I need to learn to use Adobe Illustrator), but at the very least it has helped me define who I am and what I need from my career.  My first step was the write my 30 second speech, so here it is below.  Tell me what you think….

Who is Mike Diliberto? So glad that you asked………

I am passionate about three things: Retail merchandising, Sales, and Technology.  In each of the positions where I have been most successful, I have drawn on at least two, and usually all three of these passions.

I am driven to solve problems, and I thrive on continuously being presented with new challenges that allow me to develop and refine my knowledge, skills, and abilities.  My exceptional interpersonal skills and ability to think under pressure have won accolades from customers, vendors, and employers alike.  It is this quest for continuous improvement that led to the conferment of my MBA in International Management in August of 2009.

In the full profile that follows below you will find the variety of positions and experiences that have helped to shape who I am today, with each one leveraging those things about which I am most passionate.

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. mikediliberto
    Jul 26 2010

    Thanks Meghan. I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment; it’s not that it’s hard to get things from our head into paragraphs, but rather, that we don’t think in paragraph form.

    I notice it even more now that I have hired a few people. It is really, really hard to get the true sense of a person from the “feature list” of their resume; there has to be a better way. (like mind-maps and venn diagrams)

  2. Jul 26 2010

    I love this approach for a few reasons. First, I think that too often we try to force ourselves into one category or bucket. Also, I tend to have trouble getting these things from my head into paragraph form, so I’m the queen of mind-mapping. I even mind-map to do lists. This uses the same process to attack branding.

    As soon as I read “who are you?” in this post I panicked. I need to get on this right away! Thanks Mike!

  3. mikediliberto
    Jul 24 2010

    Thanks Troy! If you even need another person to bounce ideas off of, drop me a line.

  4. Jul 23 2010

    Very impressive my man. I am getting started on my elevator pitch as well! What a great beginning to the resume.

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