How to Impress Prospective Employers

Imagine you’ve met someone at a party. After brief introductions, the person you’ve just been introduced to launches into a lengthy discussion about himself, his interests, and his goals. 

“Hey, what about me?” you may be thinking. “Aren’t you interested in hearing what I have to say?” 

Apparently the answer is “no.” He doesn’t care about you or your needs. And because of that, it’s unlikely you’ll want to talk to him again, and you certainly won’t want to develop a friendship with him.

It’s obvious that being completely self-absorbed isn’t effective in social situations. That’s why it’s amazing that so many people make the mistake of sounding self-absorbed when applying for a job.

Of course a potential employer wants your resume and cover letter to have information about you including your work experience, education and achievements. 

But to make the short list and get an interview, a potential employer wants more -- they want to know the benefits to them of choosing you over the numerous other qualified people who have applied for the job.

For example, an employer doesn’t want to hear that your career objective is “to have a rewarding, high-paying position where I can learn and move up within an organization.” 

After all, don’t most people want something like that (along with a corner office)? This type of statement doesn’t tell your employer anything about what you will do for their organization or what the benefits are of hiring you instead of someone else.

To have a huge advantage over the other applicants for your job, do something radically different than what many job-seekers do: focus on what value you can bring to the employer instead of what they can do for you. 

When you are preparing your resume, imagine the employer has asked you to answer the question: “What’s in it for me if I hire you?”

For example, to make your resume stand out when you’re applying to the XYZ corporation, try using a powerful objective statement such as the following:

OBJECTIVE: To use my five years of record breaking sales experience to increase the sales and profitability of XYZ Corporation by 10% each year.”
This is a strong statement because it includes specifics. Avoid stating a generic objective such as “to contribute to an organization,” which will not make your resume stand out from the crowd.

An alternative to stating your objective within your resume is to use a “summary statement” at the top of the page.  A good example of a strong summary statement would be something like: 

“A problem-solving leader who consistently delivers revenue generating and cost saving solutions for organizations.”
In addition to showing what you have to offer an employer in your resume, make sure when you're called for an interview that you learn as much as you can about the employer.

In a national survey conducted in 2006 for the staffing agency Accountemps, 47 percent of executives polled said that having little or no knowledge of the company is the most common mistake job seekers make during interviews. 

The survey included responses from senior executives in human resources, finance and marketing departments with the nation’s 1,000 largest companies. 

“Candidates should learn as much as they can about a company before meeting a prospective employer,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. 

“The most successful applicants will have a beyond-the-basics understanding of the firm, including its history, chief competitors and business objectives. Armed with this knowledge, job hopefuls should be able to describe how their skills and experience can help the business reach its goals.”

Accountemps offers the following tips for researching potential employers:

  • Find information at your fingertips. By visiting the company’s website, you can locate a wealth of information, such as the firm’s mission and values, what products and services it provides, recent press releases and more.  If it’s a publicly traded company, call the investor relations department to request an annual report. 
  • Research the industry. In addition to learning about the company, research the industry in which it competes to gain a better understanding of the market and specific issues and trends that may affect the organization. 
  • Check your network. Ask your colleagues, friends and others for information about your prospective employer.  Your contacts may have worked for or with the organization and could provide insight that may prove valuable during a job interview. 
So the next time you send out your resume or go on an interview, take the time to research your dream employer and focus on the benefits you will bring them 

When they offer you the job you can ask for all those things that you want. 

Then the next time you’re at a party and someone asks, “What do you do?” you can talk about how you landed your great new job. 

Tag and Catherine Goulet are founders of FabJob Inc. and authors of the book Dream Careers: How to Quickly Break Into a Fab Job! Visit www.FabJob.com to discover how to break into the career of your dreams. 
 

by Tag and Catherine Goulet

Sisters Tag and Catherine Goulet are the Dream Career Experts. In 1999 they founded FabJob.com, a publisher of guides on how to break into a dream career, which has been visited by 50 million people. They have been featured giving career advice in media from ABC to Oprah.com and Woman's Day to the Wall Street Journal online, and their career advice appears frequently on the career pages at MSN.com and AOL.com. They are authors of the book Dream Careers: How to Quickly Break into a Fab Job! Visit www.FabJob.com to discover how to break into a dream career.

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