“Jason, how many careers exactly have you had?”
Even though I was speaking to someone I had known for over 20 years, I didn’t initially know how to answer this question. Although my career has been relatively stable, I’ve still managed to transition between areas of expertise including Sales, Marketing, Advertising, Recruitment, Automotive, Geolocation Technology, Market Research, Information Technology, Software Development, Accounting & Finance, Market Research, Data Collection & Analysis, Human Resources, Employee Experience and Personal Wellbeing! Unofficial roles include beer and wine-tasting. But are these different careers, or simply different chapters in a single career? I am still not sure.
Anyway, the point is that I have a lot of experience when it comes to convincing people to take a chance on me when the odds weren’t stacked in my favour. If you are looking for a job opportunity right now, chances are you will need to do the same thing. Here are two questions you need to be able to answer to increase your chances of success:
- Can you articulate your value to people who don’t know you?
- How will you stack the odds in your favour?
Can you articulate your value?
Barely a blog goes by these days that doesn’t reference the word ‘value’, mainly because it’s important. In any situation, a person who can articular their value to others is in a stronger position than those who can’t. Note that I didn’t say know your value, because knowing something and being able to explain it clearly are two different things.
That said, many people fail at the first hurdle of knowing their value. For example, let’s say I wanted to hire you for a New Product Development position. You can tell me that you have 10 years experience, and I’ll be a little impressed. You can tell me that you met every quarterly target over these 10 years, and I’ll be a little more impressed. The problem is that these are all historical examples. I am still thinking to myself ‘sure, but how do I know that you will be successful in the future? Past success is not necessarily a reliable indicator of future success these days!’
Instead, if you told me that you have a thorough understanding of the process of new product development and because of that you have a 75% success rate with new product launches, it would start to get me really interested because that increases your chances of future success. If you then highlighted that you have had to pivot on several ideas because of changes in the macro environment, I would be thinking ‘this person could really help us get ahead of our competitors right now’. And after explaining how you were able to bring various stakeholders on the ride during times of change, I might start to realise that if you go to a competitor, I am screwed! All of a sudden everyone else who said ‘you should hire me because I have launched many new products’ aren’t even close to getting a job.
In other words, know your value and know how to articulate it clearly to others.
How will you stack the odds in your favour?
Most recruitment processes are designed for maximum efficiency for the people doing the recruiting, which often means maximum frustration and annoyance for ‘candidates’ going through a recruitment process. I say this as someone who has both experience as a recruitment consultant and hiring many people for my own teams. For many people, recruitment processes can be soul destroying.
In this type of market, if you are applying for a role just like everyone else, and going through the process alongside the hundreds or thousands of other applicants, you are in a difficult position. You need to stack the odds in your favour.
One way to do this (and there are plenty of others we can discuss) is to focus on creating your own role without competition from others. If this sounds too good to be true, trust me it is the ONLY way I would go about securing a new role if I had to right now, but only if you could answer question 1 properly (articulating your value).
For example, if you asked someone whether they have a job for you, they are immediately thinking ‘whoa, extra people means extra costs and we don’t have a budget right now’. You are immediately placed in the cost bucket. However there are some forward thinking companies that will still be thinking about the future and how they can outplay their competitors. If they had the right reason to hire you, they would. If you know your value, then you can stack the odds in your favour by creating your own role before it goes to the market! If it sounds too good to be true, we are helping people do this already.
In other words, you can stack the odds in your favour by being proactive and creating your own opportunities.
If you or someone you know needs help…
We can help you to understand your value and practice articulating it in a way that makes sense to others. We are also about to launch an innovative new service designed to help our customers tell their career story in a better way to stand out from the crowd.
To learn more, simply contact us or join our newsletter to stay informed. We will have a special ‘launch’ offer for everyone who has an existing relationship with us.