Case Study: How Julie’s Value Proposition Landed Her the Job Offer
By Sharon Graham.
Let’s face it, there is only one reason that our clients are in career transition — they need to secure a good job. Unfortunately, many other Canadians in our market are also working for that ideal placement. So, how do we help clients stand out?
As career practitioners, our objective is to help each client get the offer by delivering a unique, powerful, and consistent message. Throughout the process, we are enabling them to “sell” themselves to potential employers by imparting a “Value Proposition”. When applied, a strong Value Proposition effectively presents a harmonious message in the resume, interview, and overall job search.
Let’s take a look at how World of Widgets Inc. (WOW), a mid-sized widget manufacturing company, successfully filled their vacant Territory Sales Manager position.
Muriel, WOW’s busy HR Manager and Recruiter, was tasked with filling the Territory Sales Manager role. The position had opened up because WOW needed to generate an ongoing and sustainable increase in sales revenue, which was lagging.
Shortly after advertising the job posting, Muriel found herself sitting at her desk with a pile of 300 resumes to review. As she meticulously weeded through the stack, she observed that quite a few of the submissions looked like they came from the same cookie cutter template. Most career objectives were similar. Each position outlined would display a long list of job responsibilities. Muriel’s task seemed a little daunting because few of the applicants indicated exactly what they had to offer WOW.
Finally, Muriel came across a resume that seemed to have some of what she was looking for. The individual had a background that was quite similar to WOW’s posted position. She pulled out that resume and decided to give the applicant a call and see if she could get her in for an interview. During the brief phone interview, the applicant stumbled at most of the questions. She was not even able to answer the simple question “Tell me about yourself.” Muriel decided to close the conversation with a polite “We’ll get back to you.”
Muriel went through this process a couple more times, each time deciding not to schedule an interview. Glancing at her watch, she realized that she was going to have to cover ground much more quickly. Accelerating her pace, she went through the stack and only briefly scanned each resume. Muriel found two that seemed quite good. In the first one, the applicant outlined his key selling points upfront in a strong profile. The second one was Julie’s.
In her resume, Julie provided a unique message in a “power statement.” She outlined what she had to offer in the opening line: “Effective Territory Sales Manager with proven results increasing sales by bringing in clients and developing long-term business relationships.”
Interested, Muriel reviewed Julie’s resume. She noted that the document seemed to have a theme running through it — and she liked what it was saying. Julie had focused her message by packing her resume with keywords and phrases such as “business development,” “revenue generation,” “prospecting,” “networking,” and “relationship building.” And, she reinforced her message with accomplishment statements like “Generated $1 million revenue in the Ontario region by both increasing sales within the existing client base and bringing in new business from referrals.”
Julie and the other applicant, Mark, were called in for interviews. They were both dressed impeccably. Each showed up on time and displayed outstanding manners throughout the process.
During Mark’s interview, he focused on answering questions with typical responses. Although his answers were not too bad, Muriel noticed that every once in a while, he would wander off into territory that really was not applicable. She found it hard to focus on what he had to offer. So, when he started to ramble, Muriel tried to keep him on track by cutting him off with a fresh question.
Julie had prepared well for her interview. In addition to studying the company and practicing her responses to questions, she also concentrated on knowing her value proposition inside and out. Julie’s main message sounded something like this: “I can increase sales by bringing in clients and developing long-term relationships with them.” Julie also had prepared about ten more supporting statements and examples, so that she could show exactly why WOW should hire her. In her responses, she stayed on target and focused on what she had to offer.
Needless to say, Muriel thought Julie did exceptionally well. Julie was called in to meet the President soon after the first interview. Again, she answered with clarity and focus, selling her message throughout the process. After acing that interview, Julie easily secured the WOW job offer that she was looking for. Her value proposition had certainly paid off!
Developing a Value Proposition
Here are the steps your clients can use to create a Value Proposition that will “wow” employers:
- Identify their very best strengths and skills.
- Study the company and industry being targeted.
- Understand the position and learn what the interviewer is looking for.
- From this information, create a concise statement that highlights their unique offerings.
Remember Julie? She was applying to a Territory Sales Manager position. This is how she created her value proposition:
- Julie knew that her strength was the fact that she could bring customers in and keep them. She also knew that she could generate sales.
- She had studied the company and industry and knew that their sales had been stagnant.
- She understood from the job posting that the company was looking for someone who could “generate an ongoing and sustainable increase in sales.”
- Julie created this value proposition: “I can increase sales by bringing in clients and developing long-term relationships with them.” The message clearly addressed all three areas indicated above.
Designing an Effective Resume
The key to developing an effective resume is to know your client’s Value Proposition. Sell what he or she has to offer upfront in the power statement. Ensure that the message is consistently delivered throughout the resume. The final product should answer the employer’s question: “Why should we hire you?”
Julie opened her resume with a power statement that highlighted her value proposition. Throughout her resume, she consistently focused on her message by incorporating supporting statements and keywords. Julie reinforced her position by creating strong accomplishment statements that were directly tied into her value proposition. She effectively sold herself to WOW by telling them how she could help them achieve their goals.
Acing the Interview
In order to win the job offer in an interview, it is most important to answer the single question “Why should we hire you?” Since your client’s interview is likely to be conducted in relation to the resume, you must ensure that that the value communicated in both the resume and interview are consistent. To prepare for the interview, have your client practice responding to questions with vivid examples of how he or she used certain strengths to achieve the employer’s objectives. With practice, they will be able to present a clear and concise response to your prospective employer.
Julie’s technique was to develop a number of statements and examples that supported her value proposition. She practiced them thoroughly. By the time she was at the interview, she was able to walk in with confidence.
Selling your client is easier than you think. Once you have helped them to develop a strong Value Proposition, advise them to start to use it in all aspects of the job search. With a consistent, powerful, and compelling message, your clients will secure fantastic job offers in no time at all.