At the end of my Resume Revolution complimentary webinars (enroll at http://ResumeWebinar.com), I open up the floor to job search questions … from you.
Some of the questions are phrased a bit differently, but are pretty much the same basic question.
For instance, I get asked this one all the time …
A participant asks about how to demonstrate that they’ve generated value for an employer when they weren’t responsible for cutting costs or building revenue.
This is a typical question asked by administrative assistants, clerical staff, customer service/support, IT staff, and other staff employees that don’t directly drive revenue or cut costs.
But the real reason for this question is that staff employees often have a tough time thinking beyond their own cubicle (or office) door – to understand how their job affects other departments or job functions.
You can overcome this type of challenge, by thinking more broadly about your work. Even if you can’t see how your work directly affected costs, revenues or profits, you’ve probably influenced them indirectly. At the very least, you’ve taken work off of someone else’s desk, so they could devote greater efforts to reducing costs, increasing revenues and increasing profits.
Few organizations have the luxury of keeping someone on the payroll who is just keeping a seat warm, without providing value to the organization.
Sure there are still some examples that won’t apply. For example, most teaching jobs and many direct patient care positions are focused around different results than revenues and costs.
However, almost every business position, professional service providers, most government positions and non-profit roles all influence revenues, costs or profits, providing value to their employers or clients, either directly or indirectly.
Here are 5 examples of how your job creates value, when you think outside your own cubicle:
- 5 minutes of brilliance: Sometimes, the greatest value comes from things that didn’t take you very long to accomplish. You noticed something in your department procedures that could be improved, and mentioned that process improvement to your boss – that’s it, your total involvement. Just because your manager took internal credit for the improvement inside the company, doesn’t mean you can’t take credit for your recommendation on your resume. Most job seekers won’t take credit for this, because they were responsible for the idea but not implementation – if you leave this type of accomplishment off your resume, you’re underselling yourself. Who said you had to implement in order to take credit for an accomplishment on your resume?
- Committees and task forces: You may have been asked to serve on an internal task force to study a specific issue in your company or industry. Chances are, this committee or task force came up with recommendations, but didn’t have the power to make a go/no-go decision. Inside your employer, the person who made this decision and the individuals who implemented this decision typically get the credit. Since your resume isn’t designed for an audience that’s inside the company, you certainly can take credit for the value that your task force’s recommendations provided to the employer. When you fail to estimate the value these recommendations provided to your employer, you undersell yourself.
- Other departments: Not all departments are set up to be revenue or cost centers … nor are all jobs. However, even if you’re in a non-revenue/non-cost center, you help other departments provide value. For instance, let’s say you’re an IT desktop support specialist – you may not have many opportunities to reduce desktop support costs. However, by providing quick and reliable desktop support, you’ve helped others maintain productivity – you’ve helped others spend time reducing costs/increasing revenue because they didn’t have to kill their day figuring out what’s wrong with their PC. For example, it’s perfectly acceptable to estimate the additional revenue the sales team accomplished because you fixed desktops more efficiently then they could on their own.
- Providing information or reports: Most administrative assistant or clerical positions aren’t centered around reducing costs or increasing revenues (If you’ve made recommendations that have resulted in either one – draw attention to this on your resume). As an admin or clerk, part of your job is to provide support, information and organization to a manager, with the goal of taking mundane tasks off the manager’s desk. This could mean that you’re providing that manager with information (or reports) used to make recommendations that increase revenue/cut costs – estimate the effect of these decisions and take credit for developing the insight and influencing that manager to take action.
- Mundane tasks: As an admin or clerk, much of your day may be spent doing mundane or repetitive tasks, making it difficult to see the linkage between your job and providing employer value. As you’re providing support by taking mundane tasks off your manager’s desk, you allow your manager to focus on cutting costs or increasing revenue. It’s perfectly fine (and truthful!) to estimate and take credit for helping your manager create value, through your support activities.
These are just some general examples, for the purpose of getting you to think more broadly. There are thousands, probably millions of specific examples floating around out there in readers’ minds.
Please comment and share how you’ve increased employer value by expanding your thoughts outside your own cubicle.
Recruiters and employers – Please share examples of effective ways you’ve seen candidates describe indirect value to their employers on resumes.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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