Thursday, January 27, 2011

It’s Not All About You in the Job Search

You are marketing yourself and your skills in the job search process. It is easy to get caught up into thinking the process is all about you. However, to be successful in your search you must take the focus off yourself and refocus on your targeted employer and how you can help them. When this shift in focus is well-executed you will instantly set yourself apart from the crowd of fellow job seekers.

Differentiate Your Features and Benefits: A feature is a characteristic or property of an object or product. In job search terms, your features are your skills. A benefit is the way in which a feature can be important or advantageous to the person who uses the feature.

In the marketing process – which is what you are doing as a job seeker – features are important, but benefits are what seal the deal. Instead of offering a laundry list of your features, or skills, present the benefits you offer an employer. Instead of saying you have “excellent customer service skills” tell your potential employer that your personable communication skills and timely follow-up will result in increased repeat and referral customers.

Define the Employer’s Needs: Presenting a benefit that is not important to your customer, or potential employer, is almost as ineffective as not presenting benefits. Most employers hire because they have a problem to solve or a need to fill. Before you send the resume and go to an interview, do your research on the company and find out their motivation for hiring. Discover their need or problem and demonstrate how you can help them solve it and you will make their hiring decision easy.

Present the Benefits You Can Offer: Never ask about salary, benefits packages, or vacation time in an interview – these are the benefits you will receive. Instead, write every line of your resume and answer every interview question in terms of how your skills – or features – can benefit your potential employer. By taking the focus off yourself and demonstrating how you can be of assistance to the organization or meet its individual needs, you will stand out as the candidate that brings the biggest return on investment.

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