SMALL CHANGE: Your career equity is a function of your CV, EQ & PR



an ebook


Ciarán Fenton

How small changes in your behaviour have a big impact on how you work, lead or follow

That’s the title of an ebook I wrote in early 2020, initially, as a series of 50 short blogs – index here – and as a framework for a longer book.


Section 1 YOU

Section 1.8 Your career equity is a function of your CV, EQ & PR

your career equity

Your career equity is a function of your Curriculum Vitae (CV), Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Reputation (PR).

Your curriculum vitae (CV)

Your CV, or resumé, is a list of dates, organisations, titles and achievements and education – no more nor no less. It’s not an opportunity to declare that you are “dynamic and thrusting” nor is a document that can be shaped for a particular role. It is what it is.

There is a section later in this book dedicated to writing your curriculum vitae. I have written hundreds of these for clients over many years. I have read about the art and science of a “great CV”. There is no art. There is no science. A CV answers three questions:

  1. What did you achieve?
  2. Where?
  3. When?

That’s it.

Your emotional intelligence (EQ)

Emotional intelligence is a big topic covered by many academics, notably Daniel Goleman. For me, and for my work with leaders, it’s about three issues:

  1. Empathy
  2. Self-awareness
  3. Your ability to have your needs met, productively

Your reputation (PR)

Your reputation is the consensus amongst other people about you which they express behind your back and, sometimes, but not always to your face.

Career equity

I call the intersection of these three components your “career equity” to date. Equity is the value of an asset less the value of all liabilities on that asset. 

You are an asset. You own you. Your organisation doesn’t own you. You are not one of its “greatest” assets” because it can’t “own you” no matter what management speak it uses. You have domain knowledge, expertise and latent talent as yet unrevealed. It’s all yours.

You also have “liabilities” in the career sense. Behaviour, history, and contexts which hold you back.

I set these assets and liabilities out in detail earlier in the section on your soft balance sheet.

Your career equity is the difference, in abstract or “soft” terms, between your career assets and liabilities or, expressed in another way, the best intersection of your CV, EQ and PR.

The value of these representations and models, limited though they are, is to help you to take a quick snap shot of your career equity now and how you might like it to be, say, in three years’ time which is a realistic target milestone. Two years is too short, five too long.

How will your CV have changed in three years’ time? Will you be in the same job? To what extent can you control that outcome? Are you in control of it as much as you can or, as my father used to say to me when teaching me to drive: is the car driving you?

To what extent if any will your reputation have changed by then? Do you know what your reputation is now? Have you checked? Do you know how to change it even if you wanted to?

Most of all, to what extent if any will you have developed your emotional intelligence in three years’ time? Do you want to? And how?

My advice is to work hard on your empathy, self-awareness and above all your ability to get your needs met productively.

Meeting needs productively, yours and others, is what fulfilling work and careers are about.

Ciarán Fenton

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