You want career fulfillment, but with minimum effort. That’s the message I get when there’s nothing in your resume, social profiles, or interview answers that clearly demonstrates your value.
Where there’s no differentiation between you and the competition, someone else who does stand out will get the job.
A young client once told me a story about his first job at Walmart. He was fired after three months. As parting words, his manager said to him, “You do nice work — when you come on time. You’re constantly late.”
Reflecting on the situation, my client said to me, “I refused at that time to understand what they valued. It wasn’t too much to ask: Be on time and do good work. Instead, I didn’t value their time.”
To quote from an article on America’s Job Exchange, “A good employee gets the job done. A great employee gets the job done in spite of everything.” When you’re trying to land a job, you need to show employers you are one of those great employees, not merely a good one.
This is the essence of impressing an employer: It means showing how you embody the difference between good and great. Here are a few concrete ways to do that:
1. Use Your Social Profiles to Intrigue Employers
Most job seekers undervalue their social media profiles. We can argue about whether or not to have a presence on certain sites, but you must use the profiles you do have to show off your value. Your social profiles should answer the question of how, specifically, you will contribute to employers that hire you. This bit of information will intrigue hiring managers, encouraging them to learn more about you.
2. Prepare a Perfect Combo of Personality and Portfolio
In order to demonstrate your value, you must show proof of that value. Interviewers ask questions because they want evidence that you can deliver results. Potential referrers are Googling you to find proof of what you claim to have done. While a winning personality can go a long way, you need to back it up with a portfolio of proof.
For example, you can record presentations you’ve given and upload them to YouTube. You can share your PowerPoint decks on Slideshare. There are many options out there for building a shareable portfolio of your prior work.
3. Share Your Career Story
How did you arrive where you are now in your career? Employers want to know — and they want you to deliver a compelling story about it.
Provide context for the depth and breadth of your career. Let employers see how you persevered and persisted when challenges threatened your goals. Don’t undervalue the significance of your experience, learning, and breakthroughs, even when they come from tribulations.
4. Share the Numbers
Quantifiable proof of your previous results is the clearest gauge employers can use to evaluate you. It takes much of the guesswork out of the equation, giving a more concrete value to your skill set. If you’ve saved previous employers money, increased ad traffic, or can put a number to any of your other work, highlight that number.
5. Share Your Plans to Develop
We all are impressed by athletes who are at the peak of their performance, but we’re even more impressed when those high achievers find ways to further refine their seemingly perfect skills. Similarly, employers are impressed when you share not only your previous results, but also your efforts to further increase your value.
Take it a step further by showcasing how your personal plans for professional development align with the company’s own goals. If you understand the employer’s needs and merge their desires with your own experience, you can present yourself as the ideal candidate. Remember, you want to prove you would be a great employee, not just a good one.
Mark Anthony Dyson is a career consultant, the host and producer of “The Voice of Job Seekers” podcast, and the founder of the blog by the same name.