Monday, January 27, 2014

Want to Sell Yourself as the Best Candidate for the Job? . . . . . Sell the Benefits of Hiring YOU!

People Buy Benefits.   It’s true for selling . . .
   -  a car,
   - a house,
   - a computer,
   - an ink pen, or . . . .
   - yourself to a prospective employer!

And, what is the most frequent problem I see when it comes to job seekers’ written and verbal presentations of themselves?
No benefits.  A lack of the very thing that can sell a prospective employer on giving you a chance.

Finding a job is all about sales 
If you subscribe to the theory- and my belief - that finding a job is all about sales  – and it is  – , you can begin to see the connection:
  1. Finding a job is all about selling yourself.  
  2. And, when you are offered a job, you have made the sale.
So, if you believe that finding a job requires selling yourself, then it follows that you have to know what you’ve got to sell.  While this may seem obvious, it's not!  For a job seeker, it boils down to the ways in which you have benefited your prior employers and the ways you anticipate benefiting your next employer.  This offers a much stronger argument for hiring YOU, than just listing duties you’ve performed and/or responsibilities you’ve held.

Customers buy benefits
Astute salespeople don't approach prospects with "laundry lists" of their product's or service's features.  Instead, they show how these features will help the customer solve problems, stem shrinkage, and facilitate growth. 

For instance, a realtor showing a buyer a house may note the house’s “features” as being: 3,000 sq. feet, an attached garage, newly remodeled bathroom, and open plan kitchen/family room.  In and of themselves, these are just “facts” about the house. 

The realtor begins to make the sale when she or he illustrates how these “facts” about the house will help the buyer. 

    Feature                                              Benefit
    3,000 sq. feet                                     Provides room for the family to grow
    Attached garage                                Means safety from danger and the weather
    Newly remodeled bathroom           Means move-in ready, no costly renovations
    Open plan kitchen/family room      Can keep an eye on the kids while cooking

In the same way, astute job seekers know that resumes with "laundry lists" of duties, or “features,” tell little about how they can contribute to a prospective employer's success.  These duties in and of themselves don’t show how job seekers helped their customers, a.k.a. former employers, solve problems, stem shrinkage, and facilitate growth.  Astute job seekers’ resumes will certainly list duties they have performed and responsibilities they have shouldered, but then also focus on how their performance of these duties helped previous employers solve problems and achieve growth and success. 

Your most important sales tool
It is fair to say that your resume is one of your most important “sales tools” – certainly one of your most visible.  Throughout your search, you’ll distribute it to 100's of contacts and employers.  In it, you will show why you should be considered as a serious candidate for a position, promotion, or additional job responsibility.  Think of your resume as your sales brochure.  What you highlight, describe in detail, and de-emphasize forms an impression in the reader’s mind about you and your capabilities and capacity for helping an employer. 

You resume describes your experience by
  1. Highlighting duties you have performed  –  features in sales jargon –. and 
  2. The outcomes or results of your performance - benefits in sales jargon.
 In other words, your resume shows prospective employers what they could gain by hiring you and the benefits of doing so.

Employers buy benefits too!
Consider an employer who is advertising to hire a person to look into operating efficiency and cost reduction for their firm.  He will be more impressed by an applicant who states they (a) he or she has analyzed costs and (b) reduced costs for a previous employer, than the applicant who merely lists this duty (feature) on their resume.   The table below provides 2 examples of a duty performed and the resultant benefit or accomplishment.

    Feature or Duty                                           Benefit or Accomplishment
    Analyzed operating costs                           Reduced insurance costs $75,000
    Reviewed customer complaint system   Increased accuracy and timeliness, and reducing labor costs

Written on a resume, the benefit or "Accomplishment Statement,"might look like this:
  • Provided financial analysis of operating costs, which resulted in reducing insurance costs $75,000 and in a refund of approximately $30,000.
  • Streamlined customer complaint reporting system, increasing accuracy and timeliness, and reducing labor costs (add the $ savings if you know them).
Steps to identifying the benefit you provided
As stated earlier in this article, knowing what you’ve got to sell is not always obvious.  Here is a 3-step method for figuring out how the duty you performed benefited a previous employer:
Step 1
    Ask:    What action did you take and what was the result?
                What was the outcome for your company?
                        For instance, what was achieved in savings, revenues, problems solved,
                        efficiencies, increased productivity or profit, or improvement of some kind, etc.?
                 What was the outcome for you?
                         Personal outcomes can include increases in responsibility, promotion, awards.
    Note:    Quantify and qualify your results to the extent possible.  Not every result can be
                          quantified, but they can be qualified.

Step 2
    List:    Each of the duties you performed followed by the outcome or result (Benefit) you achieved by
               performing that duty.  Do this for each position shown on your resume.
Step 3
    Select: For each resume you send, select those duties + accomplishments that are relevant to
                 the position for which you are applying.
    Hint to get started:  Ask yourself this question:  What things am I proud of in each position?

How-To-Formula for writing Accomplishment Statements that show the benefit you provided
Here's a method to help you craft an Accomplishment Statement: 
(1)  Start by listing a duty that you performed in a job you held.  Write it down.
(2)  At the end of the phrase listing the duty, write the words:  "resulting in ___________."
(3)  Ask yourself what did the company, customer, my department, I, etc. get as a result of my performing that duty or task.  In other words, how did you benefit them?
Below are two examples:
            Duty performed                       “Resulting in”                  Benefit or Accomplishment
                                                                                                             (Outcome or result)
Step 1: Re-engineered reporting systems, resulting in  . . . . .. . . . .. . reduction of  timelines by 50%

Step 2:  Re-engineered reporting system,  reducing . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..timelines by 50%.

        - Use the words “resulting in” to connect the duty with the result.
        - Then change the words "resulting in" to a more accurate verb.  Above "resulting in" became

Using this method, you can turn a resume, which simply lists duties you have performed, into a results-oriented, accomplishments-based resume that gets employers' attention!

In finding a job, as in sales, how you say things can be as important as what you say.  How you write about your work in your resume and other sales materials, and how you talk about yourself can make the sale.
So here’s the equation for selling yourself in the employment marketplace:

(1)  Identify features          and then          (2)  Sell or Market the benefits of hiring YOU!
For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
 ____________________________________________________________________________                 AJC - for Your Career Path
  Linked In:        
Twitter:  @AfterJobClub

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Want a New Job? It Starts with a New Year's Resolution

Still make New Year's Resolutions?  If you do, you have lots of company.  
Millions make them, fewer achiever them.  
What makes the difference?  
Following up your wishes - your resolutions - with action steps and deadlines.

Sounds like goal setting, doesn't it?  In fact, it is. Making a resolution, and then figuring out what you have to do, and how you have to do it, in order to achieve your resolution is nothing more than goal setting.

Resolutions in and of themselves are just dreams 
Resolutions in and of themselves are just dreams of what and where we'd like to be by the end of year.  But these dreams  - or visualizations of what success looks like to you - are important.  Because they are a step - an important step - to getting there!  

So, to have a happy, healthy, and successful 2014:
(1) Decide what you really want to accomplish by the end of the year, and 
(2) Plan what you will do to achieve your resolutions.

Here are some steps
1.  Identify the things you'd like to achieve in 2014.  Make a list.  Here are a few examples:
- winning the lottery
- learning to speak a foreign language
- losing 20 pounds
- saving money
- getting a new job
- learning a new job skill
- beginning a degree program
- running a marathon
- publishing your book
- taking a trip/vacation to Europe

2.  Separate the important from the frivolous.  Asterisk the things that are really important. Experts say it is hard to focus on more than 3, so choose 1 or 2 or 3 things that are really important.  Here are some examples: 
- winning the lottery
- learning to speak a foreign language
*- losing 20 pounds
- saving money
*- getting a new job
*- learning a new job skill
- beginning a degree program
- running a marathon
- publishing a book
- taking a trip/vacation to Europe

3. Become specific:  Amplify each asterisked item by defining it further, stating some steps -mini-milestones - you will take to accomplish each, and deadlines for the mini-milestones.  For example:
*- getting a new job may be most important to you.  So, now, do the following:
a) Amplify --
   Get a new job as a manager of accounting in a public accounting firm by September 2014.
b) Identify Mini-milestones --
   Write resume. Learn about employment market for accountants.  Attend professional association monthly meeting.  Identify colleagues and contact to network with.
c) Set Deadlines for mini-milestones 
   Write resume - by January 15, 2014
   Learn about employment market for accountants -  by January 15, 2014
   Attend professional association monthly meeting - by February 25, 2014
   Identify colleagues and contact to network with  -  by January 31, 2014.

 4. What's next?  Continue to plan additional action steps as you learn more and move toward accomplishment of your mini-milestones and your major milestone - i.e., your resolution.  Set a time weekly to review your activity, progress, where you fell short, and adjust current or set new mini-milestones to achieve your resolution. 

You can have a new job in 2014, or run a marathon, or learn a new language, or publish a book, . . . .. They are all achievable.  It's all up to you.  It starts with a dream, a wish, or in this case, a New Year's Resolution!

tiny smiley happyHappy New Year and best of luck in turning wishes for a "Happy, Healthy, and Successful New Year into reality!                                                       
For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.

 ____________________________________________________________________________                 AJC - for Your Career Path
  Linked In:        
Twitter:  @AfterJobClub