That was a question that was posed recently to the NETSHARE LinkedIn forum by Martin Buckland of Elite Resumes. The question was posted to stimulate discussion among both senior executives and recruiters, and it certainly hit the mark. The responses were quite diverse, and very enlightening.
Some of those in the group were quick to offer superlatives about their skills and prowess:
- “I get things done that last”
- “I believe in people...and what they are able to accomplish if you tap their will to win and get out of their way. “
- “I understand what it takes to drive demand and what it takes to satisfy it. “
- “I like to bring out ingenuity within operational teams…”
Others talked about what they look for in a candidate:
- “I look for achievements beyond the call of duty…” and “what have you done for junior people.”
- “The number one hiring mistake managers make is focusing too much on what you can teach (i.e. industry/product/technology), but they don't focus enough on what you can't teach (integrity, attitude, creativity, etc.) which explains why there is so much turnover in most organizations.”
But how relevant are these skills and differentiators in a competitive job market? Relevance is the key. As one commenter noted, “You can only answer the question if you know exactly what they are looking for…. You need to tailor your answer and show only benefits, not features.”
Randy Block, a regular on our Ask the Coach calls, concurred, noting that in the current job climate it’s all about features and more importantly, benefits. Your resume is your list of features, but those skills are only relevant if they deliver a specific benefit to a prospective employer. As Randy puts it, the question isn’t “Why should I hire you?” but rather the question you need to answer is do you have enough information about the job to match your features as benefits that suit the prospect’s needs? Relevance is the key. As Randy notes, “’I cured cancer’ is a great achievement, but it could get the response, ‘Cool, but we can’t use that here.’”
So as you conduct your job search, your marketing documents needs to reflect the features you have to offer that will put you in the running. To beat out the competition, you need to highlight those benefits you bring to the table that are relevant to the job the recruiter or hiring manager is trying to fill.