Originally published at http://www.aussieresumes.com/2010/are-you-a-solution-to-a-companys-problem/.
Are You A Solution To A Company’s Problem?
Let’s face it, every workplace has their problems, and every boss wants a solution to that problem.
As an active job seeker you are in a position to market yourself as a solution to that company’s problem(s) by demonstrating you are results-oriented as opposed to task-oriented.
How do you do that?
Let’s take the example of my client, Adrian. Adrian is a Safety Officer with a background in assessing site conditions and designing new programs and strategies to lower accidents / incidents and mitigate risk to his employer.
Adrian came across an advertised role for a Project Safety Officer for civil projects that involved: induction and safety training of staff; investigation and reporting on incidents / accidents; identification of safety issues; and monitoring of subcontractor OH&S compliance.
When compiling his marketing documentation (that is, his résumé and / or cover letter), Adrian outlined what his position entailed, along with a brief list of tasks he performed in that role. Whilst Adrian had correctly tailored his documents to mirror the tasks outlined in the job advert, his documents were just that – a list of tasks. It was informing the hiring manager that he had undertaken the core responsibilities of the role they have available, but it wasn’t telling them what results his employer obtained as a result of undertaking those responsibilities.
So there was no compelling “call to action” for the hiring manager. No results, so the hiring manager isn’t seeing a solution to his problem and is left wondering what Adrian can do for them. Anyone with the right training and experience (limited or otherwise) can perform the role, but at the end of the day, what is it about Adrian that sets him apart and leaves the hiring manager hungry to learn more?
I encouraged Adrian to grab a piece of paper and divide it into three columns.
In the left column, I asked Adrian to write down the “problems” this company faces in regards to safety; including any risks they may have, industry-specific legislation and codes, and so on.
In the middle column, corresponding to each problem or point he has noted, I asked Adrian to jot down what strengths, skills or knowledge he brings to that problem or point he has noted.
Then in the right column, I challenged Adrian in thinking about examples from his past or current employment where he came up with solutions, or obtained results – but it had to correlate to the problem and the skills / knowledge he identified in-line with that same problem (such as the problem he wrote in the first column and the skills / knowledge he noted in the middle column).
It went something like this:
|High incidence of sprains and strains (accounts for 60%+ of injuries) with half being back injuries.||Early prevention via training (manual handling) so employees are aware of risk.
Review and implementation of risk management procedures.
– Reduced incidence of sprains and strains from a high 80% down to a low 32% by:
Adrian was then able to rework his documents from:
- Successful in reviewing and implementing risk management procedures (task-oriented and placed under an “achievements” heading)
to a results focused achievement:
- Reduced incidence of sprains and strains from a high 80% down to a low 32% by:
- Analysing occurrences of incidents to determine cause.
- Investigating the site to review job processes.
- Undertaking a job redesign that involved modification of a task through mechanical assistance (this task alone equated to 80% of the incidents with half of those being back strains).
- Delivering training to 132 staff in manual handling.
- Implementing refresher courses for all staff.
So Adrian is now proving to the hiring manager that he is results-oriented by citing a quantifiable outcome, along with brief facts on how he did it.
In the original job advert, it didn’t say anything about a high incidence of sprains and strains. All it stated was “investigation and reporting on incidents / accidents and appropriate implementation of risk management procedures”.
But Adrian took it one step further by thinking about the problems the employer would be facing within that industry, and then aligning his document with solutions / outcomes he has achieved for his past and / or current employers.
When the hiring manager received Adrian’s application, they were blown away by the results he had achieved for his employer and they were keen to get the same results for them! Adrian’s document resonated with the hiring manager because it “spoke” to him directly about the issues his company was faced with, and ignited a spark about what Adrian could do for them. There was no way he could ignore Adrian’s application as Adrian ensured he positioned himself as a solution to their needs / problems.
Incidentally, Adrian got an interview and secured the job.
What opportunities are you missing out on because you are not aligning yourself as a solution to the company’s problems?
I encourage you to take the time in thinking about what problems your potential employer may face by following the example I have provided in this article – irrespective of your profession. Only by defining the problems are you then able to cite some quantifiable (and quality) information that positions you as a subject matter expert and a solution to their needs.
Happy solution thinking!