Six months of using various resumes that positioned me as an experienced leader in market research, strategic marketing or project management had resulted in many interviews but no offers. I had great skills but I was asking the hiring managers to imagine how those skills would solve their immediate business problems. I finally decided to step back and ask “what do my customers (the hiring managers) want”? I knew from my own market research experience that increasing revenues from existing products and developing new products that are profitable in the very first year are near universal key business pains. I also knew that most companies suffer the inefficiencies of having as many new product development processes as they have product managers. Based on this information, I decided to use my success developing profitable new products to rewrite my resume as a new product development expert. This rewrite highlighted a business problem most companies have, and presented my successes solving problems of this type. This approach also re-positioned my market research expertise as a tool to increase bottom-line new product revenues rather than another skill that “might” someday be useful. This customer-focused approach to selling myself successfully landed me a promotion and an increase in pay during the deepest part of the recession.
The Net Net:
- When selling yourself, the hiring manager is your customer. Find out what business pains they have today and demonstrate how you have solved those pains.
- Your skills, education, and experience are only valuable if they have directly improved revenues, profits, costs, or time to market. Having multiple degrees and certifications is meaningless unless you can point to the bottom-line business benefits they helped you deliver.
- Always counter-offer, especially if you are using a recruiter. Companies expect it and recruiters stand to make more if your compensation package increases. Let your recruiter do what they do best and negotiate the best package they can. You have nothing to lose.
- With small staffs becoming the norm, cultural fit is very important. I had nine interviews to land my position and only three had to do with my ability to do the job. All the others were intended to see if I would “fit in” with the business culture. The assessment criteria “plays well with others” is just as important in the workplace as it was back in grammar school.