JOB SEEKERS: IT’S ALL IN THE MESSAGING
What’s the best way to make a job seeker squirm? Ask him why he should be hired for the position he is seeking. After some hemming and hawing, stuttering, and sweating, he likely will respond with a vague and ineffective answer that fails to position him in a positive light. Quite often, job seekers are unprepared to answer this question because they have not identified the value that they are bringing into a position. This is evident in every aspect of their job searches, from their resumes to their LinkedIn profiles, to their answers in interviews.
Before launching a job search, the first step you must take is to identify your worth. Once you know the reasons why you should be hired, you can then
begin to craft your strategy to land a new job.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR VALUE AS A JOB SEEKER
One of the most difficult challenges job seekers must face is embracing the notion that they are not simply applicants or candidates, but they are also personal brands. Just as companies and product brands must learn to identify their value and differentiate themselves in the marketplace, so too must job seekers.
Do you know why you would be an asset to a company? After all, if you don’t have a clear understanding of why you should be hired, how can you possibly convince a hiring manager that you are a strong candidate? It’s your responsibility to understand and communicate your value points – don’t rely on the interviewer to draw them out of you.
And when thinking about your value, focus on outcomes, rather than responsibilities. Results are much more powerful than soft skills.
Answer the following questions:
What have I done to achieve the goals of my position? What were the outcomes and how did they positively impact the company?
What have I done to increase efficiency, reduce expenses, or grow revenue?
What problems and challenges have I solved?
COMMUNICATING YOUR VALUE
Once you’ve answered these questions, you will have a much better idea of your value. Your responsibility as a candidate is to communicate your worth clearly and convincingly. Be prepared to cite specific examples and avoid empty generalities.
Instead of saying, “I have strong problem-solving skills,” prove it. Say: “In my last position, I demonstrated my problem-solving skills by rescuing three accounts that the company was about to lose. I identified significant service issues, implemented better processes, and rebuilt relationships with customers.”
Instead of saying, “I am very organized,”
prove it. Say: “As a project manager, I increased efficiency by replacing disorganized, inconsistent practices with standardized processes. This enabled the company to complete projects 25% faster with higher quality.”
See the difference?
It’s essential to maintain consistency in your messaging in every communication throughout your job search. This includes your resume, cover letter, social media posts, interview, and follow-up correspondence. It’s disconcerting to an employer or recruiter when your resume and LinkedIn profile appear to be describing two different people. Review your documents and make sure you are presenting a single story with no discrepancies.
And don’t miss the opportunity to proactively influence your messaging whenever possible. If a colleague agrees to write you a recommendation, don’t be shy about indicating which value points you want to be highlighted. If you are trying to demonstrate that you excel at increasing revenue by building long-term customer relationships, then mention to your colleague that this would be a terrific point to bring up in the recommendation.
To shorten your job search and help you ace your next interview, take the time to perform a self-assessment and identify your worth. If you do, you’ll be able to answer just about any question posed by an interviewer without even breaking a sweat! That includes the dreaded “Why are you looking?”