Regardless of how you think about the recruitment process, there’s only one reason a company should choose you over other candidates: you are the right person to solve their problems.
With this in mind, you have to approach your job search thinking that your success as an employee will be measured not only by how well you do but also how you go above what you are asked to do. It’s all about the problems you solve.
If you want to win in the job market, you need to tailor your communications, whether written or oral, to the problems you’d be hired to solve.
Why Is Problem-Solving Important in Your Job Search?
In the most saturated job markets, landing your dream job at a company you like sounds like a utopia. Top employers not only use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen the applicant’s skills and qualifications, but they look for the candidates who have the best understanding of their operations.
Most people don’t bother putting themselves in the shoes of the employer. But, with a little research, you can market yourself as someone who knows the problems of your industry—even those of the company you’re applying to.
By doing so, you’ll be a much stronger candidate and boost your chances of getting hired.
How to Be a Problem-Solving Expert
The first step toward making your candidacy problem-solving oriented is by having a firm grasp of your industry. Not only should you be 100% knowledgeable about the job you’ll be performing, but you should be able to understand what’s going on at the managerial level and the types of problems your future employers face on a daily basis.
For this reason, reading business management books that pertain to your industry is one of the best things you can do. They’ll provide you with the specific language that you need to convince recruiters and managers that they would be crazy not to hire you. Amazon is a great place to start.
Once you’ve tailored your resume according to the job description and industry using resume keywords, you need to show that you see beyond your daily tasks and are capable of solving problems. Your cover letter gives you the opportunity to elude to past accomplishments, initiatives and targeted skills in a way that suggests how you’re going to make a difference.
To be convincing, you need to point out concrete issues and link them to past accomplishments.
For example, organizations that develop accounting software for small- and medium-sized companies care about leads generation, traffic conversion, and churn reduction. You’ll want to build accomplishments around these topics, emphasizing the managerial point of view. If you can show employers convincingly how you’ll locate their product in an industry where features, price ranges, and compatibility make users switch from one service to another, you’ll have a strong case.
One way to learn what’s most important is to analyze the job description and your resume with Jobscan. This will tell you what skills and abilities are most important to the job and whether or not your resume addresses them.
How to Broadcast Your Future Success
Numbers are great to quantify your past accomplishments but they mean nothing unless they relate to the challenges you’ll be facing at the prospective company.
When writing your resume, don’t merely quantify your past successes—make them resonate for the company. For example, instead of only writing by what percentage you increased your former employer’s sales, mention what framework or method you used and allude to what problem led you to choose this strategy.
If you have unique skills or knowledge, like training in psychology, put it forward and describe what types of problems it helps you resolve. This angle will make you stand out as a high-value candidate, which may be a difference maker. But make sure to point out why this skill or knowledge matters to the company you’re targeting.
If you’re looking for a realtor position, for example, psychology training combined with the right credentials is a great asset because the home-buying process is an important decision.
In other words, your resume and cover letter need to be specific about how you’re going to help this particular company solve their unique set of issues.
Your candidacy should be a “no-brainer”
While you want to present yourself as a problem-solver throughout the entire hiring process, it is perhaps most important during its final stages.
The interview is your opportunity to show the value you’ll bring to the company. You can bring a plan with your ideas or ask specific questions about the company at the end of the interview.
This tactic will give you the opportunity to speak about your capacity to solve the company’s problems in a more thorough way than you might have otherwise.
Sometimes the recruiter’s questions don’t allow you to make your case the way you want. And sometimes you just fail to answer them accurately because you don’t have enough time to think. However, if you can take it upon yourself to showcase your strengths and unique value by giving them a proposal, or by asking smart questions in the interview, you will come off as a strong candidate. Show what you can do for them and how you will do it.
Your follow-up should be no exception. It should mention something that you discussed that you feel excited about and relate to your strengths. If you show them more than what other applicants do, they won’t face a difficult decision.
For example, if you’ve talked about sales strategies, you can tell your interviewer that you’re looking forward to using your storytelling skills to help them increase their sales.