What Potential Employers REALLY Want to Know
I'd just finished talking about the recently released unemployment numbers on Fox Business News, when the makeup artist who made me look far better than I have a right to ran up to me and said, "I need to follow your advice! I should brand myself by starting my own blog and getting business cards. I want to tell everyone that I'm the best makeup artist on the planet. But how do I back that up? Can't anybody say they're the world's best makeup artist?"
"Sure they can," I responded. "But that's not what a potential client wants to know about you. They don't care about your lofty claims."
"They don't?" She questioned, expertly made-up eyes wide, "What do they want to know, then?"
"They want to know what you can do for them," I told her. "They want to know how you can add value to them. For example, you just made me look the best I've ever looked on television. I would gladly hire you to do the same thing to me next time. So on your business card, and on your blog, you might say something like, "Making you look your best when you need it most." That implies that you're there for them, anytime, and that you can make them look stunning. Who wouldn't want to hire a makeup artist who can do that?"
Job seekers would do well to remember that little bit of advice. Potential employers aren't all that interested in how great you are. They don't want to hear how you will benefit from a position, or what kind of position you're looking for. They don't care about your talents and achievements half as much as they care about what you can do for them. How you can add value to their business. Oh sure, they will take your experience, qualifications and talents into consideration, but the main thing that sticks with them is, "If I hire this person, my company will be enhanced in the following ways..."
Remember that when you're writing your cover letter, your résumé and especially when you're going in for an interview. If you focus on "How I can help you" rather than on "How you can help me," you're sure to make a great impression.
Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want. Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets. Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.