Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
July 29, 2011

Does Your Power Style Support Your Job Search?

You have an impressive track record and a healthy list of contacts, but people with less experience are getting the jobs you want. What’s the problem?

According to Maggie Craddock, president and founder of Workplace Relationships, it might be the power style that you display when you interview.

“In a competitive job market, understanding how your power style shapes the impression you make on prospective employers is as important as spellchecking your résumé,” she wrote in a blog post for the Harvard Business Review. “Fortunately, it’s something you can change.”

Craddock said that most people exhibit a blend of at least two of these four core power styles:

  • The Pleaser —You often wield power by attempting to connect with others at a personal level.
  • The Charmer — You exhibit an intense focus that both intimidates and seduces others into compliance.
  • The Commander — You operate with a results-first orientation and tend to foster a sense of urgency in others.
  • The Inspirer — You tend to be an innovative thinker and operate with a consistent commitment to the greater good.

None of these are “good” or “bad,” she noted, and not every style works well in every environment.

Many job seekers must “unlearn” certain traits and habits. “The strengths that are rewarded inside an existing system aren’t always the same ones that seem appealing in the wider world.”

Knowing the appropriate style for the situation and environment could prove vital in landing that important job that you want.

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2011 issue of  Public Relations Strategist.

Jason Woodward  is a publications intern for Tactics and The Strategist. He is a senior at Brigham Young University studying public relations and business.

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