“You don’t have to be the first to be a success. You don’t have to be unique. You don’t have to be revolutionary. What you do have to do, however, is give people value. Give them a reason to buy from you instead of from somebody else.”
Tim Berry, author and founder of multiple companies, writing in the Entrepreneur.com Blog Network, on “Startups: Unique and Revolutionary, or Forget It?”
This statement is very apt for the job seeker, and for those already in a company, and seeking to accelerate their career growth. The way to get noticed, and ultimately to get hired or awarded a new opportunity, is to give prospective employers value, and a reason to buy YOU instead of someone else.
The only reason I hire someone is because I firmly believe you will solve the problems I face, and achieve the results I need. This is the ‘value’ I seek.
Expressing how many years you have been doing something, all of the credentials you have, and the various duties you have performed over the years doesn’t equate to value. Those are what the unimaginative candidates fall back on, often because:
Unless you get very good at expressing your value in all venues, in a very natural, conversational way that isn’t ‘pushy’, you will always be left wondering why others get hired for the best jobs, or get awarded the most interesting opportunities for which you really wish you had been considered.
One key to doing this is to build a visibility campaign. I wrote about 7 ways you could start to go about this in my most recent issue of Career Tips. Write to me at John@JHACareers.com if you would like a copy, or you can review the contents and selected articles from past issues and sign yourself up at
And don’t forget that you can subscribe to my RSS feed of this Career Accelerator Blog at:
“I want …”
Your marketing message, your résumé, your cover letter, etc. should all be focused on what THE OTHER PERSON wants, not on what you want. Your goals will come out in the process of the discussion, but you want to be sure that the emphasis is on why I as the listener or reader should be excited about helping you achieve those goals.
One example is the “Objective Statement” many candidates use to open their résumés. An objective is all about you, not about what you can do for me. For a more complete discussion of why these are counterproductive on your résumé, see http://www.jhacareers.com/ObjectiveInResume.htm.
Here’s one example, from a real résumé I received:
To utilize acquired skills leading and supporting cutting edge system development and implementation efforts to further my management career within the Insurance/Financial Services Industry.
What message does that send to the hiring manager who reads it?
Including what you want somewhere in your message is OK, as long as you do it in a way that shows why you would be an outstanding candidate for it - then it’s making it interesting to the listener / reader. It’s equipping them to know how they could help you or refer you.
Just be sure to do it later in your message, after you’ve engaged them.
The best result comes if you only get to what you want in response to the other party’s follow-up question…
“I’m a results-oriented professional…”
or this variation:
“Proven results in…”
These are used all the time in résumés and cover letters, or even in oral 30 second pitches…and they do absolutely nothing for you.
Remember the adult voices on all the Charlie Brown specials, how they were purposely designed not to be understood? That’s basically what empty phrases like these sound like; all the other party reads or hears is “blah, blah, blah.”
The problem is that these are just statements that you produce results, instead of demonstrations. It’s easy to simply say you produce results or are results-oriented, and saying it doesn’t make it true, or make me any more likely to believe it.
Instead, give concrete examples of the results you produce. Let the readers and listeners conclude from your examples that you are ‘results-oriented’, instead of trying to hit them over the head with it.
For example, if I was trying to show someone that I was “results-oriented,” instead of:
“I have proven results in helping my clients with their job searches.”
This would be much more powerful:
“Kevin had been out of work for 2 years, and within a few months of working together was back at the job and pay he deserved. And a simple technique I showed him earned him an additional $10,000 of base salary.”
“Tom had 15 months of interviews without a single offer. Within 1 week of attending my Winning Interviews course, he was weighing 2 competitive job offers.”
So strike empty statements that say you have results from your repertoire, and instead show the proof of the results.
And have a Happy New Year!