Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Do You Create Employer Value? Or do you just take up space?
Employers today have problems that need solutions. That’s why they hire staff, because their problems require too much manpower or specialized knowledge for the hiring manager to solve on their own.
What kinds of problems you ask? Problems reaching sales goals, or expanded sales forecasts, problems lowering costs, problems increasing production, labor problems, tax problems, technology problems, getting goods & services to market problems, making that great idea into a better mousetrap problems – those kinds of problems.
Candidates that clearly demonstrate how they can help solve employer problems create value, and are aggressively recruited. Candidates that don’t demonstrate a track record of solving specific problems end up with a long job search and either unemployed or underemployed.
One problem is that most candidates write for themselves, not for their audience. Most resumes I see are autobiographies describing what someone has led or managed. The number of people you managed, or the projects you participated in might be a source of your own personal pride. But these seldom create value for your potential employer.
This isn’t just a resume issue, because it extends into the interview stage also. It’s a self-image issue. Do you babysit people and projects, or do you create results?
I seldom see resumes that clearly state the candidate:
- beat their sales goals by 40% for the past 5 years (or team sales goals)
- cut costs by 25% by instituting new procedures
- increased revenues by 30% by implementing a new sales channel, inventing a new widget, or creating a new marketing campaign
- improved profits by 20% by instituting cost containment controls, exploiting tax loopholes, or eliminating production waste
For Technology types, I’ll see all the time that they invented a new product, so profound that it changed the molecular structure of the world as we know it … but rarely do I see an estimate of how much value that product added to their employer.
When I revise resumes and advise clients I pull these value creation experiences out of their memory banks. Nearly everyone has these examples, unless you just weren’t trying. Since I’m an optimist, I believe that everyone tries to do a good job, at least in the beginning, even in Government. I just find that job seekers often have a skewed view of what’s important to a hiring manager.
And it’s interesting….the more people a job seeker has hired during their career, the more they seem to write a personal biography, rather than a relevant track record of solving problems and creating value.
When I ask these same managers about what sorts of things impress them about a resume from a candidate they just HAD to hire – I’ll almost always hear that the candidate has experience solving relevant problems and that they’ve got a great track record (of creating value). These same highly talented people, who have hired many people during their career, are usually incredible problem solvers, with many examples to offer. But the lure of writing a personal autobiography is just too great.
Do you create value? How does your resume demonstrate this?
Or do you take up space?
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