I was contacted last week by a CFO expressing great frustration in his job search. Why, he asked, was he the only one who could see how easily he could make the transition back into a private industry leadership role after being out of private industry for the last 10+ years. He was confident those last 10 years only ADDED to his ability to lead a finance department. Looking at his marketing documents, I understood why.
My question to him – and to you – is this …
Whose responsibility is it to connect the dots so your value is obvious? Yours? Or, the prospective company?
There is no question that the job search today is challenging. However, it is made all the more exasperating by, in my opinion, these two things …
—Not understanding your positioning
It is not what you did (responsibilities) that a company is buying. It is your ability to solve problems, and particularly their problems, that they will pay good money to get. If you aren’t positioned as a problem solver, your positioning is weak, vulnerable, and suspect and relegates you to commodity status.
Maybe you do understand your value proposition, and you can even clearly articulate it. Do your marketing documents convey the same message? Resume writing is about strategy, which is why templates often fail to make the grade. A one-size-fits-all approach isn’t a good marketing document strategy, nor is it a good candidate strategy.
–Being all things to all people
Being niched … and branded … I am a bit biased in this regard. Still, my belief is that being a subject matter expert trumps being a generalist; knowing a lot about a little is more valued than knowing a little about a lot; and everyone has one or two things at which they excel and would differentiate them from the competition. Most people just haven’t taken the time to figure it out. Rather, they rush into a job search trying to be all things to all people in order to get that next position.
If you can’t clearly convey why you are the best of the best at solving a company’s financial/operational problems, the prospective company probably won’t take time to figure it out either. That responsibility is yours as the seller of Product You.