Show Your Value

showyouWhile interviewing for a job, how would you separate yourself from the rest of the applicants. In other words, how would you show your value? Thomas Friedman recently wrote an article for The New York Times “How To Get a Job at Google” (he actually wrote two articles – part 1 and part 2). As background for the piece, Friedman interviewed Laszlo Bock, the person at Google in charge of hiring, and asked him for insight on how someone would successfully be offered a job at Google. The article was filled in great information on what separates you from the competition.

Many job applicants, when asked to describe their strengths, would respond with words like “hard worker, dedicated, committed”. But on the surface what does “hard worker, dedicated and committed” mean? But these words are subjective and vague – leaving the potential employer to translate that into value.

So how do you show value? Follow these 3-simple steps:

  1. Identify a skill (preferably a strength)
  2. Identify how well you do this skill (in time such as minutes or percentages)
  3. Compare your current skill to this same skill 6 months or a year ago and show how you’ve improved (and what you’ve learned)

Recently, a student came to me who was on the university’s football team and was due to graduate in a month. He really wanted to pursue a career in football and had scouts and agents watching him. My first question was “how are you different from every other defensive tackle on this team and every other team? What makes you different?

Not being an expert in football, I was at a disadvantage but he knew exactly how to answer. We discussed comparing his stats as a freshman with his stats as a senior. How had his time and techniques improved and how did they compare with other men in the same role? He saw how to take a simple skill and translate into information that is useful to potential employers.