So you are making a career.
Before you go there – PREPARE
Know Who You Are,
What You Want,
and How You Are Going to Get It.
Every message you convey throughout your job search, be it verbally, written, or visually should convey your value to the prospective employer. Success Stories are a great way for you to think back, organize, and prepare written documentation as well as for interview. Offering “profit” or, value, should be at the heart of your job search message. Use it to describe how you will work in a manner that will make your employer a better, stronger, more profitable company. Three methods for conveying value include:
- Linking your past successes and future solutions to employer buying motivators
- Demonstrating a return on investment (ROI)
- Emphasizing benefits instead of features of your qualifications
Initially, prospective employers are in the “shopping” mode. They are just checking you out as well as many other people like you. Yes- skills, talents and experiences may all be fairly equal. It is up to you to determine what will take this “shopper” to become a “buyer” of me.
What are some of the Employer’s Motivation to “Buy” you?:
- Make Money
- Save Money
- Save Time
- Make Work Easier
- Solve a Specific Problem
- Be More Competitive
- Build Relationships, Brand, and Image with Internal/ External Customer, Vendors, and the Public
- Expand Business
- Attract new Customers
- Retain Customers
The next very important detail is the prospective employer’s concern about what his/her Return on Investment in hiring you will be:
As a potential employee, you want to concentrate on how you could generate a return on the employer’s investment in hiring you. Whatever your role is, challenge yourself to look for ways to boost the employer’s success. Let’s look at how you will be prepared for your interviews.
Think about Benefits vs Features:
Benefits explain “What’s in it for them”. The feature is what you do or what credentials you hold. The benefit is how you do what you do to solve their “pain”. Continue to have a “what’s in it for them” mindset.
Inventory your Success Stories from the positions you have held. Here is a sampling of questions to Elicit Success Stories (also common interview questions, so take time to prepare):
- What are you most proud of in your career?
- What challenge or crisis did you face on the job and what was your approach for solving each situation?
- In what way did you help your employer generate more revenue?
- In what way did you help your employer increase productivity?
- When were you complimented by a supervisor, co-worker, or customer?
- When do people say to you, “You are amazing… you make it look so easy!” or “How do you do that?”
- What skills or talents are you especially known for?
- What kinds of work activities cause you to lose track of time?
- How were goals and productivity measured on the job?
- When did you go above and beyond the call of duty?
- What do you do that your co-workers do not do? What would happen if you weren’t on the job?
- When did your actions motivate or influence others to do something that they initially did not want to do?
- When did you have to make a tough decision under pressure?
- Under what circumstances did you display character and integrity?
- How did you overcome a challenging situation with a co-worker or team member?
- When did you diplomatically address a politically delicate situation?
- How did you go about making a presentation to internal or external stakeholders? What was the outcome?
Guidelines for Writing your Success Stories:
- Use a “what is in it for them” perspective when describing.
- Write a success story for each of your prior positions.
- Each story points out an underlying strength or qualification you bring to the table.
- Write them for community activities, volunteer, as well as paid for jobs.
- Numbers speak louder than words! Dollar amounts, productivity measurements, comparisons…
- Avoid personal opinions and negative feelings.
- Choose your words carefully. Instead of saying “I was chosen to lead …” say “The VP sought me out from among…” – more powerful.
- Short and relevant to your skills, knowledge, competencies and motivation to excel in the target job.