Recently I was approached by Bob Clary from www.webucator.com about my thoughts on what is a job-seeker’s most marketable skill. I really thought that was an interesting question. Let’s face it, today’s media is full of stories about people who have invested in their education only to be faced with the daunting task of finding employment. There are always excuses why someone can’t find a job but for every story of frustration and failure there are also stories about those who stopped giving in to the popular excuses and found a way to breakthrough and find the job of their dreams.
Those seemingly lucky few who are now making more money than they ever thought possible and also as a bonus have found doing something they love to do. In essence they get paid for doing something they love to do. How did those who have found precious employment breakthrough?
The secret is actually very simple. If you go into a job search looking for something your potential employer can give you (like a job) then you are doomed to fail. If you go into the same job search looking to provide value for the employer while not worrying about the money while you are searching, then you are on the right track. Not worry about the money? Isn’t that what getting a job is all about? Yes it is for failed job seekers and failed employees. But for those who not only find a job but also one they love, the search to help a potential employer is unfettered by the pervasive “What’s in it for me?” mentality. They are not looking for a job at all. They are looking for a service opportunity where they can provide something that the employer has not previously considered.
Remember the employer is expecting to be deluged with mediocrity and is not expecting someone who is a peer or even better a service superstar. What things can be provided that will exceed what employers expect? Thanks goodness for job seekers the list is long and it is not hard to stand out from the pack. Things such as elite customer service, higher employee or client retention, team building, more revenue through higher sales or more profit through organizational efficiency are just a few things that would be above and beyond the normal person who is just looking for employment.
Creating Value Before You’re Hired
The question that job seekers should ask themselves is, “That job looks like an interesting opportunity. How can I bring value to a business like that?” Basically ask yourself what it is you could do help the company, the hiring manager or the specific department make their lives a lot easier and at the same time how you can either make the company more money or save them money. Once you have done your research on the type of job you are searching for simply find the biggest frustration that the company has and apply your skills to find a solution to it that YOU could take care of or implement.
Your Most marketable Skill
Q: So then what is the most marketable skill you have?
A: Your ability to either to make or save a company money
Let me illustrate the difference in the two approaches:
Things you would hear from someone looking to GET something from a potential employer…
- “I saw you were advertising for help wanted”
- “Are you hiring”
- “I really need this job”
- “I just need a job.”
- “How much doe this job pay?”
- “How much experience do I need?”
- “What hours do I have to work?”
Things you would hear from someone looking to provide VALUE for a potential employer…
- “I have a passion for customer service. Is that something that can help your team?”
- “I think I can really save you some money by retaining current customers.”
- “I help companies create more revenue by WOW-ing clients. Is that important to you?”
- “I can save you money on returns by educating clients how to use your products and services.”
- “I would love to go though your lost client files to see what I could do to bring them back to you.”
- “I see an untapped market that I know I could open to your product and services.”
- “I have a passion for customer service. Do you and your company have the same passion I do?”
“Go Online To Fill Out An Application”
This is the standard response that all company receptionist’s tell all would be job seekers. If your response is “Okay what’s the web address?” you are in trouble. Imagine if your response to this direction instead…
“I was about to do that but before I did I was wondering if you could help me with something. I am not really looking for a job. What I’m looking for is a way to help your company (save or make) money by (give a general direction) providing timely reports on the profitability of the service department. Is there a manager I could talk to to get a better sense of what you need before I fill out the online application?”
Confidence is an unmistakeable intangible that can be created inside of each of us. To me confidence is the result of being able to provide value. When you can provide value for others, you can hardly contain yourself. You are filled with energy and possibilities and the search to find someone to help is easy. When you are asking FOR something from someone is robs you of the natural energy you need. Being needy inspires low-self esteem because you are always in effect asking others if you are “good enough” to get the job. It inspires comparisons to other needy job seekers instead of standing out from them.
When you can provide value, you KNOW you are good enough to help someone. You just need to be selective in who you choose to help. Yes providing value is your most marketable skill. Emphasize that and you will find the mission to fulfill your life’s work.