Focus on the Future: 3 Ways to Show Employers You Can Do for Them
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Employers don’t care about what you’ve done; they care about what you will do.” Rest assured, it’s the truth.
Throughout every round of interviews, employers are trying to determine how you can save them money, improve quality, increase revenue, improve productivity, or help the company in other ways.
Employers believe that if you’ve achieved similar accomplishments in relevant roles in the past, you will likely do the same for them. On the other hand, if your previous accomplishments are not relevant to the role at hand, employers believe you’re applying for the wrong position.
However, the job search is not only about what you have already achieved. There are other factors at work that can convince employers you’ll be valuable in the future.
Here are three ways to show employers what you can do for them during the job search:
1. Have the Proper Mindset
The first step in convincing employers that you’ll perform for them in the future is having the proper mindset. People with the proper mindset are confident and can back up their claims of future value with proof. Those who lack the proper mindset are stuck in the past, like former high school athletes reveling in their “glory days.”
I recently gave a group of job seekers the challenge to tell me what their legacy would be in 2o27. In other words: What would they accomplish in the next ten years?
One member in the group said he would increase revenue by developing relationships with value-added resellers. I asked him how he knew he would do this. He told the group that he had done the same thing twice in the recent past, so there was no question that he would do it again in the future. He spoke with confidence, knowing he could repeat his accomplishments.
Another member said she would improve communications for nonprofit organizations, coordinating events, managing social media, and creating content for their websites. “How?” some of the group members asked. She said she had done this in the past and was confident she would do it in the future.
This is the mindset you must adopt and project to potential employers.
2. Write About Your Future Greatness on Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile
You should write the “summary” or “value proposition” section of your resume in present tense because this section focuses on what you will bring to the employer. For example: “Consistently increase productivity more than 70 percent by implementing Agile methodology.”
You must also prioritize your statements by listing your most outstanding accomplishments closest to the top of the resume. The more relevant accomplishments you have on the first page, the more strongly you indicate your value to an employer.
Your LinkedIn profile summary should tell a story of the passion you have for your occupation and the value you have to offer. This is the first section employers will read, so make sure it packs a punch.
The summary of the new LinkedIn profile is truncated, so make sure the first line or two is a value statement. This will make the reader click to read more of your summary.
3. Talk About Your Future Greatness in Interviews
Behavioral interview questions center on your experiences. They ask you to explain your past successes and how you will repeat them in the future.
You should approach all interview questions as behavioral questions – even if they are not explicitly so – and give examples of your accomplishments. Use the STAR formula to craft your answers. For those of you who don’t know, STAR stands for: situation, task, action, and result.
Telling a STAR story has the benefit of highlighting more than one of your skills at a time. For example, say the interviewer asks, “Tell me about a time when you coordinated a project which led to success. How did you do this?” Your STAR response can incorporate demonstrations of your skills in leadership, communications, organization, and other relevant domains.
Some questions won’t be so explicitly behavioral. For example, “How would you define leadership?” might seem more theoretical, like it requires no stories of previous experiences. However, you should still try to weave your past performance into your response – e.g., “I have demonstrated my definition of leadership on many occasions. Can I give you an example or two?”
Using this approach in the job search, you can shift the focus from your past to the future. Show employers what you can do for them, not just what you have done for other organizations.
Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 15 job search workshops at an urban career center.