Step 3: Identify and Adjust How Others Perceive You

Lesson 1: What Is Perception?

Proactively shaping others’ perceptions of you is a key strategy for standing out, gaining credit for your work, and, ultimately, achieving career advancement. Perception is what someone notices, sees, or is aware of.  You unconsciously observe what is happening without being consciously aware of the content that’s forming in your mind.  Within a corporate environment, people learn about other people not only by observing individual behaviors, but also by noting how people interact with each other, dress, and communicate verbally and nonverbally.

Why Does Perception Matter?

Everything you do on a daily basis is being observed and documented inside the brains of every single person with whom you come in contact.  Everyone has an opinion of you that directly affects your ability to be promoted, receive assignments you want, and a raise or bonus.

Perceptions, once formed, are difficult to change, and attempting to do so can take a long time.  Once people have formed an impression of another, they stop actively gathering new information.

Your ability to control the perceptions of you by others directly corresponds to your ability to make and maintain influence.  Building influence requires a strong and compelling personal brand. 

Lesson 2:  Developing a career is about knowing oneself well and maintaining good relationships.  Understand your strengths, values and how you perform is the first step in advancing in your organization.  The father of leadership education, Peter Drucker, wrote the definitive piece on the value of self-assessment in career development. His six key areas of self-questioning are: 

  1. What are my strengths?
  2.  How do I perform?
  3.  What are my values?
  4.  Where do I belong?
  5.  How should I contribute?
  6.  How do I take responsibility for relationships?

Lesson 3: Introspection is a skill. Management success is determined by aligning your strengths with your career and shaping your emotional intelligence to drive personal and business performance.  Technical skills got you to this point, but management skills take you to the next step.  Understanding strengths, values and interests, and shortcomings will allow you to best capitalize on your career prospects.

Benefits to developing clarity of your strengths:

  1.     Articulate your strengths to bosses/hiring managers
  2.     Gain confidence in your value
  3.     Identify and proactively address any gaps in your candidacy

Lesson 4: Your brand is based on how others view you. It consists of not only your values, but includes how you do you work and how you interact with others. It’s the memory people have of their experience of working and spending time with you. (Mary Rosenbaun, Career Coach, Master Certified Personal Branding Strategist) 

Readings and Videos for Deeper Understanding

  •       Clark, D. (July 22, 2013). “Starting Over: Branding Yourself Mid-Career”. Harvard Business Publishing Video (Youtube)
  •       Goleman, D. (August 11, 2008). “Social Intelligence and Leadership”. Harvard Business Publishing Video (Youtube)


Complete the CareerLeader MBA career assessment tool and submit the results

Please watch this video which describes the purpose of self-assessments.

Assessments are a process of learning about yourself.  They give a clearer sense of who you are and where you are meant to be.  By knowing your interests, skills, values, and preferred work environments, you can intentionally place yourself in positions where you will most likely be able to succeed.  The more you learn about yourself and what you need and want from a career, the more you will recognize a good short-term job and long-term career fit.   Too often, MBAs rush to pursue jobs and careers which were prescribed to them by other people years ago.  As an MBA, you have the opportunity to rethink your old assumptions about what you should be doing with your life and blaze a new trail.   We recommend that you use one or both assessments.


 CareerLeader® is a business career self-assessment program, developed by two directors in the Harvard Business School CMC.  It is the MBA self-assessment benchmark.  It is used by many graduate business schools and students to help them with their career decisions.   It has three reflection objectives:

  1. Creates career success/satisfaction profile using your interests, values, and skills.
  2. Predicts elements of organizational culture key to your success and happiness.
  3. Compares your profile to over 600,000 successful people in MBA careers, and projects likely  career paths you would enjoy and succeed.


Instructions to access CareerLeader:

  1. Email John Hutchings,, for a CareerLeader username and password.  As an administrator, he will have to create an account for you.
  2. Visit: and follow the onscreen prompts to the NEW USER section of the page
  3. Enter your email address: i.e.,
  4. Enter your registration key:  ncstate-keeper  (the hyphen is required)
  5. Once you have successfully logged in and activated your account, you will be directed to the user dashboard.  There, you will be able to click on TAKE THE TEST for each of the three inventories (INTERESTS, MOTIVATORS, SKILLS).  Plan on taking 25 – 45 minutes.  For best results, answer each question quickly, don’t try to overthink it.  But, you do not have to complete the assessment in one sitting.
  6. After completing all three inventories, you will be able to view your personalized results in each of the six sections on the dashboard.  Your personalized CareerLeader Report is available for download and printing within the Toolbox section of the user dashboard.

Click here to Make an appointment with your career coach to debrief your results