For job seekers, interns, recent graduates and career management professionals, there’s one question that trumps all others: Why Hire You?
As part of my new book on delivering your best elevator pitch, I wanted to showcase a real-life story (as opposed to a bookshelf strategy) for moving your career forward.
No matter where you are in your career, the most valuable hiring lessons come from the real world. And someone who knows how to get hired is the Millennial CEO.
You probably know the Millennial CEO, Dan Newman. He’s the guy who got to the Big Chair before his 30th birthday (and not at a company he founded). What’s his secret for career acceleration? (Particularly now, as many Millennials and Gen Y job seekers are taking it on the chin in the summertime job market.)
This economy is punishing the younger generation, and it’s not fair. Here’s what you can do about it: create a compelling answer to the question, “Why should I hire YOU?”
You have to be able to do the job, and if you’re there on the interview the assumption is that you have the skills. The Millennial CEO says, “As a professional, you want to be taken seriously about doing a role. You have to have the know-how, bottom line.” But going beyond the resume requires something more…
Or more precisely, a “humble confidence.” Dan explains, “The team has to believe that you can deliver value that they can’t find somewhere else.” Confidence is the differentiator; if you don’t believe in you, no one else will, either
“A big part of my success,” Dan explains, “has hinged on my ability to convince others that I can do what they need me to do. I refer to past accomplishments, and experience, but at the end of the day, people have to believe that you can get the job done.” Transferring your beliefs to another is one of the hallmarks of inspiration, and a key to getting others to take action.
“It’s all about packaging your accomplishments”, according to Dan. Does your resume reflect your results, or just your skills? When you are asked for your elevator pitch, do you deliver those results in clear package for the interviewer?
A broad understanding of the players, the products and the industry is important for your career to advance. “But being able to speak intelligently about the various aspects of the business”, Dan says with trademark humble confidence, “has really accelerated my career.” If a company is going to invest in you, you have to show that you really understand what they’re trying to accomplish – and the implication of their challenges.
6. The Antidote for “Can’t”
“You have to remove the word ‘can’t’ from your vocabulary,” Dan says, without hesitation. “For any business, there are things that they can’t accomplish. You have to demonstrate how they can – with you, because you can turn obstacles into opportunity. And you have to make sure the company understands and believes that –with you in place – that overcoming their challenge is now possible.”
“What’s the path to that profitability that all businesses seek?” You have to demonstrate that you understand how to deliver the results that are needed – even if those results are in engineering, customer service or cost accounting. Every role and every department has results; explain your role as part of that accomplishment.
8. Go Beyond Your Experience
What about new responsibilities – things you haven’t got on your resume? “You have to show extraordinary competence in the area of your expertise – and then connect that track record to new opportunities and new challenges.” Remember, the hiring manager hasn’t been able to solve the puzzle yet, either. “Delivering can expand the conversation. Look at the experience you do have, and explain how it relates.”
9. Leadership without Authority
“If you want to move into a new role with new responsibility, you have to show how you’ve been able to marshal resources from diverse departments.” Leadership without a title is the first step towards getting one.
10. Paying Attention
Nobody wants to be sold, but everyone wants to buy. “Have you shown that you understand the industry, and the company – are you paying attention?”
You Can’t Fake It. Anybody can write a great resume, but you can’t fake your elevator pitch. “The first 30 seconds of the conversation is so meaningful,” Dan explains, because presentation matters. “You have to demonstrate that you ‘get it’, whatever the issue might be, because without that connection, you’re done.”
Know the company, and know your audience. “Do you know enough about me and my business,” Dan asks matter-of-factly, “before you ask me to buy YOU?”