With unemployment rates still heading off the charts, jobless workers engaged in job searches are frantically working to find the right way to present their credentials to convince prospective employers to call them in for an interview.
But there’s been one secret stumbling block that most people hit which sends them into a tailspin when it comes down to an actual interview.
When presented with the question “Why should I hire you?,” most people fail to show what it is that they offer a prospective employer.
In fact, the real secret is that most of us are actually terrible at saying what exactly makes us good at what we do.
That’s both a good news / bad news scenario for job seekers.
The good news is this means that the other candidates competing for the same job opening aren’t doing a much better job in selling employers on why they should hire them either. But that still leaves your own inability to express your value to employers as a real job search liability.
While our society teaches us to avoid being braggarts, the one place and time to talk yourself up and take credit where it is due is in your résumé, cover letter and during an interview. Employers are probing to find out what your value has been to previous companies. If you can’t convey this to an employer, what this really means is that you really don’t have any idea of what your own worth is, either.
By gaining a firm handle on what you have to offer a prospective employer, you can confidently answer the question with specific reasons to add you to their staff team.
A good place to start building your confidence and a “30 second commercial” is your résumé. Instead of including a passive, weak objective statement, try building two to three sentences that marry words that describe your work ethic and values with the key words relevant to the position you are pursuing.
Example: “Bottom-line focused sales professional with more than 15 years of experience delivering high-integrity, customer-centric consultative business development tactics geared to drive bottom line results.”
That sure beats the heck out of "Objective: To find a sales position that matches my selling and marketing abilities", doesn't it? The example above shows VALUE and makes someone want to hire you, where an objective statement flops around like a fish in the bottom of the boat.
By spending some time and taking the time to put this down on paper, this exercise can help you build value into not just your résumé document, but also into your psyche so your worth to potential employers is more deeply under your skin. Being connected to this sense of self-worth can literally make the difference between being offered the job or not.
Once you have your value statement polished on your résumé, it’s now time to practice saying it out loud. Use friends or family as your audience, and prepare how you want to answer the question, “Why should I hire you?” Remember to smile, keep eye contact, don’t fidget and be centered on your value proposition so you can deliver it with the confidence that you know you have.
The final test before the interview process is to march yourself out to industry or business networking events and start a conversation. Eventually, it will come back to you and you'll be asked, "What do you do?" and your value statement will be ready to roll. Being able to quickly and easily articulate what you do and how well you do it is one of the most empowering things in the world, and will help set you apart from the other candidates.