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Step 3: What’s Your Value…?

Step 1: So, You’re Looking For a Job…
Step 2: What’s Your Plan…?

You’ve now gone through a self discovery to understand what you want out of life and what you want out of a job; you’ve developed a plan for how to approach your job search, identifying what industries/companies you need to research and who to talk with. Look closely at your skills in your brainstorming notes (remember, if its not written down it doesn’t exist) and identify business value that you have created using the skills you’ve identified. In my case, its not good enough to say that I’m a Six Sigma Black Belt. I have to explain how I’ve used this methodology to save money…and how much was saved. Remember (and you should repeat this every day of your career) if you are not increasing revenue or decreasing cost, you’re doing something wrong!

A Curricula Vita or Resume must be viewed as a marketing brochure for the products you’re selling. And don’t kid yourself, you are selling something. Don’t just list activities that you’ve done or project descriptions unless you can explain why they were important. Don’t just look at your computer desktop and include all of the software that you know. Explain what you have done with these tools and why what you did matters. All business activities, and all jobs for that matter, are only important (I’m saying it again) if they increase a companies revenue or decrease their cost.

Once you’ve consolidated your “story” in an initial draft of a resume, look closely at the picture that you’ve painted. Really hone the job descriptions to focus on value. It is often difficult to estimate cost savings or revenue generation but it can be done. Estimating is perfectly fine as long as it is not intentionally exaggerated, but the numbers tell the real story. This is what people will focus in on and ask questions about. What value does the role bring to the business? What value did you bring? From the draft resume you should be able to articulate what your speciality is.

Conduct informational interviews with friends, colleagues, or contacts to understand what they view as important to their business. Share your accomplishments and get their feedback. You should know the details well enough to explain them rather than having them read your resume. Use the list of questions that you put together in your planning phase. Other people’s perspective will provide you with valuable insights as to what is important to different businesses, but will also provide you with an opportunity to practice telling your story. Focus on professionalism. Everything you do and say will advertise who you are.

Review your notes from self discovery and also from your informational interviews. Do your goals match your experience? If you were hiring for the position that you want would you be the best candidate? These are excellent questions for the informational interviews, and imperative questions for you to answer. Now is the time for some serious self evaluation.

Do you require any interim experiences to achieve your goals? Re-examine and revise your plan. You are almost ready to make inquiries about specific roles, but not yet. You have looked inside yourself and identified what you want out of life and out of a job, you’ve created a plan for industry and company research, and you’ve put together a draft resume. You are now ready to work with a professional to write your resume. I outsource functions to specialists all the time. I am not a specialist in resume writing and don’t want to be. It is worth the investment. All of the upfront work is the only way that you will be able to communicate with your contractor, so don’t short cut that. It will also help in the stages to come.

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