WorkWise: Emphasize cost-consciousness to employers

10/08/2012 12:02 AM

10/08/2012 12:06 AM

How can you best stand out among the legions of job hunters? What can you do to motivate employers to hire you? Create value.

“Value,” at the very least, means demonstrating cost-consciousness. Build your campaign on results and outcomes.

Raj Sheth advises job hunters to be thoughtful from the outset. Almost all nonsales jobs are cost-centers for employers, which means you’ll have to work a little harder than a salesperson in developing your resume, indicates Sheth, president and co-owner of Aplopio Technology Inc., headquartered in San Francisco.

“Don’t list every single task at every single job you’ve held, right down to your college internship,” he says. “Be precise with your resume space.”

Stuart Green would concur, directing candidates he recruits to omit the mechanics of their jobs. As managing director of Growth Innovation Advisors LLC in Lafayette, Pa., he points out that many people with senior positions in finance, HR and IT face limited opportunity. “They have staff-oriented jobs, many strategic,” he comments. “Senior leadership in most companies today looks for short-term results and the ability to implement projects to completion within or under budget.” Tie your experience to efficiency.


Even with staff jobs you can capitalize on today’s widespread cost-conscious market by “rethinking your candidacy from a revenue-generating perspective,” Green observes. Re-position yourself with this type of information. It requires thought, although Sheth would add that you must research companies before you can identify the relationship between what you’ve accomplished and their bottom line. In the case of venture-backed companies, Green says to research how they’re financed to understand the ultimate exit strategy.

A company website is only a start. Sheth says to talk to people in a company – preferably in the department where you’d like to work. “Ask what problem they’re facing,” he advises. “What do they consider important now?”

He also mentions to identify “the kind of organization would fascinate you, what you would bring to it that would be unique to you and where they need help.” Once you research a company’s needs, ask yourself if you implemented a system of some kind that increased efficiency for that process.

Green meets some candidates who say their best opportunity will be in an organization where they can do something specific, such as raise money, but they’ve never done it. He calls these “gaps” on resumes and recommends consulting at a small to mid-sized company to demonstrate that skill. “Consult where there’s a major restructuring, new businesses are being launched or acquisitions are coming in,” he says. “Help from a cost perspective. Companies are optimizing their employee supply chain, with management teams evaluated on their balance sheet.”

“Come up with an example of what you’d be doing there in 90 days,” Sheth suggests. “It might not work with all jobs, but it’s a good exercise for the interview, because employers will see how you think.”

Corporate and external recruiters in a wide range of fields are looking for candidates who’ve quantified their results. Scott Love, president of The Attorney Search Group Inc. in Washington, D.C., advises law firms to look for “quantifiable results and measurable outcomes. It’s more than just making money or saving money. It’s about value, which can be quantified.” He cites as an example the leader who includes the number of people managed and the retention rate.

“Candidates must show how they can create value on the balance sheet,” adds Green. Incorporate that principle throughout your campaign. Begin with your resume and build on that information in interviews. Follow through with it.

Dr. Mildred L. Culp welcomes your questions at © 2012 Passage Media.

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