Do you understand what an employer is looking for?

What is an employer looking for? Having been through the job search a few times, I’ve discovered a few tips and tricks to optimising the process. When I’m approached by someone looking for help, I usually find that their starting point is their own point of view, rather than that of a prospective employer.

“It’s not fair, no one ever calls me back.”

“I’m fed up of recruiters trying to put me into the wrong job.”

“Why won’t anyone pay me what I want?”

If someone is looking at hiring you, the only thing they want to know is whether you’ll be productive for them. Now, this might depends on your personality, skills, experience or pot luck, but essentially an employer is trying to figure out whether you will make them more money than you’ll cost them over the long run.

An employer will put a value on your perceived output (or value) and subtract your perceived shortcomings from this. The trick to gaining employment is to make your perceived value greater than your shortcomings.

The easiest way to do this is to showcase your ability to be productive; to add value to your new employer. Here are a three quick tips for doing that;

  1. Showcase complete projects.

Getting a project to the finish line is difficult. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a team, training for a marathon or writing a book. Getting to a satisfactory conclusion takes planning, determination and focus. For many people, these skills are in short supply, with a career littered with half-finished projects or ‘contributions’.

in For an employer, the ability to contribute to a project is less important than the ability to complete it. Most employers would much rather employ someone that can complete a project than have to hire 3 people that can complete parts of it.

  1. Explain how you add value.

Employers want to see added value in your resume. You need to not only demonstrate what you can do, but what value it brings to your new company. An ability to see the big picture is invaluable; rather than saying you sold product X, tell an employer how much you sold and how that stood up to benchmarks.

An ability to articulate the ‘big picture’ is essential for demonstrating the ability to think outside the day-to-day minutiae that ties down so many employees.

  1. Engagement with your discipline.

As a marketing and communications specialist, I’m quick to point to my blog and Toastmasters experience in interviews. As someone who enjoys communication, I highlight these as engagement (and enjoyment) of my trade. Rather than just ‘putting in the hours’ for my employer, I’m utilising a skillset I both enjoy and develop of my own accord.

These tips might seem obvious, but it always surprises me how many people ignore them when on the hunt for a role. You understand what you want better than anyone: take the time to think about what your employer wants too.


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