by Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC
Creating value for employers is a way to set yourself apart from the competition even before you land the job. The value for you is that such a distinctive approach is likely to accelerate your successful hire! An effective strategy for showing your value is to develop a plan to identify and solve problems for the company, using tact in case the person who created the gaffe is also the hiring manager!
Research the Company
To accelerate your job search using this approach, you must target a specific company of interest. If you attempt to concentrate on a number of companies simultaneously, your efforts will be diluted and less likely to produce the results you desire. Focus your research on challenges the company is currently facing or analysis of products and publications. Match the area of analysis with your strengths and skill set so that you can highlight your value for the company.
Identify Gaps or Gaffes for the Company
Your research will create the framework for your plan by identifying gaps or gaffes in the company’s current operations. Gaffes are more likely to be found in branding or publications. If you are a proofreader or marketing specialist, you can distinguish yourself by identifying confusing marketing messages or typos in corporate publications. Gaps can be identified across a number of areas, including inefficient operations, slow sales, or ways that money is being left on the table, for example.
Create an Effective Plan
Here is where your talents shine! Create a stellar step-by-step plan for improvement using your strong skill set and unique perspective. Explain your rationale and implementation so the employer gets a clear sense of how you created the plan from start to finish. Your initiative is only one of the strengths on display in your plan.
Examples of plans you might offer include:
• a marketing plan to expand into an entirely new market with an existing product line
• strategies to increase productivity
• creating an employee communication curriculum
• cost-cutting manufacturing processes
Present Your Plan
Gaining access to the right people can be the challenge in this part of your job search. Return to your earlier research and pull out the names of specific department managers or project leaders. Ideally, you will be able to present your plan to the person with authority to implement the changes. Once you have the right names, package your resume and your plan with a brief cover letter and send it off. If using e-mail to present your plan, be certain to create an intriguing subject line to increase the likelihood that your email will be opened. Take the key aspects of your plan and incorporate these into a concise and eye-catching subject line.
Examples of effective subject lines might include:
• Penetrate New Markets with Existing Product Lines
• New Strategies to Accelerate Staff Productivity
• Better Customer Service with Improved Staff Communication
• Smart Strategies to Reduce Manufacturing Costs
Another important consideration in e-mail communication is whether attachments will be opened. Some recipients may be concerned about attachments containing viruses or company spam filters may block your email. Include previews of salient points in the body of the email to generate interest and spur the manager to open your attachments.
Your contact information will be included in your resume and e-mail signature, but continue your proactive approach by following up. Try following up with a phone call so you can have a real-time conversation with the decision maker. In attempting to get through, be certain to mention the plan you provided and state your intent to clarify any questions and to tailor the plan to the executive’s needs. If unable to get through, request a time to return the call or schedule a call. Your organizational skills will be noticed.
Creating a plan to address employer’s needs before you are even employed sets you miles apart from the competition! Your emphasis on providing value to the employer and making an investment of your time speaks volumes about the value you can provide on the job. Show employers your value to win more interviews and you will soon be getting paid for your skills and expertise!