In today’s very tough job market, how can you communicate what you can do for an employer?
The answer is straightforward: you need to effectively market and sell yourself to prospective employers. With that said, a key objective of any job search is to make you relevant in the eye of an employer or else you’ll be overlooked or rejected quickly.
Many job seekers are unsuccessful because they’re never able to articulate clearly and effectively all that’s marketable about themselves. They never build their appeal above-and-beyond the black-and-white factual credentials of their résumés to stand out from all the other job candidates.
Whatever level or wherever you are in your career, there’s much more to your story than what meets the eye. You know it and it’s your job to let others know what makes you unique and why an employer should hire you.
Employers aren’t interested anymore in what you did or in a laundry list of skills you claim to possess. They want evidence! They want to know how you did your job (action) and what you achieved (results) in your job because the benefits you brought to a previous employer is a strong predictor of how you’ll perform for your next employer.
A good exercise to help you sell results and make you more relevant is to ask yourself these questions: “What value do I bring to a prospective employer? How will an employer benefit from my background and achievements?”
Start by preparing a Facts, Achievements and Value (FAV) worksheet for each position you’ve held, even if they’re with the same company.
Create a facts column stating your most pertinent professional background facts for each position. State things such as your educational background, licenses, certifications, awards, amount of experience, promotions, recommendations, special projects, programs developed/implemented, special challenges, unique assignments and knowledge/skill areas, etc.
Next, create an achievements column by stating what you achieved because of these facts from column one. Whenever possible, make sure your accomplishments are measureable in dollars or percentages and that you’re able to substantiate it. Shift your point of view and think how your accomplishments help an employer make money, save money, reduce costs, save time, be more efficient, be more productive, improved quality, improved morale, reduced need for training, improved customer service, etc.
For example, if I say “I was hired to improve sales” in column one. Then in column two, for the specific achievement, I can say, “I increased market share by 20%.”
Next create a value column by stating how these facts and achievements can benefit an employer. These value statements offer an employer insight of what they can expect to gain by hiring you.
For example, in column three, I then can say, “My unique background in operations and marketing can increase your current customer base.”
You can create values statements such as:
• My proven background in … will allow me to (increase, decrease, improve) …
• With my ability to overcome obstacles, I can (improve, produce, achieve) …
• With little or no training, I can make an immediate impact on …
Finally, review your fact, achievement and value statements through the eyes of a prospective employer, then ask yourself this: “Would you be motivated to grant you an interview?” Even better, have someone who can serve as a neutral, objective reviewer to comment on your FAV statements, giving you constructive feedback whether they’d be motivated to interview you.
Your FAV worksheet is a valuable multi-functional tool, serving as an addendum to your resume, a leave-behind document at an interview, to help you prepare for an interview, an informational document for networking interviews or for your references, and so on.
Consider this a good starting point. By providing the evidence prospective employers are looking for, you’ll separate yourself from all other job applicants and you’re more likely to gain the attention of your next employer.
Vince Ebata is a Career Management Coach who specializes in helping people think and act more strategically about their careers and achieve it! Contact Vince at 972-768-7335 or [email protected] for a FREE and confidential consultation session.