Describing Employer Value: What if you weren’t responsible for generating value?

Oct 10 2012 in Featured, reCareered Blog, Resumes by Phil Rosenberg

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Describing the value you’ve provided for past employers is one of the best ways you can set yourself apart from other job seekers.

Some job seekers find it easy to include the value they’ve helped build for past employers.

Other job seekers face big challenges describing employer value.

During my Resume Revolution webinars (enroll at, I’m often asked:

“How can I describe employer value when my position wasn’t responsible for generating value?”

Employer value isn’t obvious to job seekers whose jobs weren’t directly responsible for delivering revenue, cost reductions or profit increases. Just because it’s not obvious to you doesn’t mean that you didn’t provide value … you just don’t see it.

Let’s take an administrative assistant role as an example …

At face value, an admin might think “I didn’t create employer value. All I did was put numbers on some pre formatted spreadsheet reports, screen calls, schedule meetings and do the gofer work that my boss requested of me.” I’ll analyze our admin’s statement to show where he/she did provide employer value.

  1. Reports: If you prepared reports, you developed the information that your boss (or further up management ranks) used to make decisions that provided value. Describe the information you prepared (or analyzed), describe decisions made with that information and the value those decisions delivered to the employer. Information => Decisions => Value.
  2. Screening calls: Screening calls gives your boss more time to make decisions that provided employer value. Saving your boss time => More time to make/implement decisions => Value.
  3. Scheduling meetings: Scheduling meetings doesn’t directly generate value. However, there are a number of tasks you probably did in conjunction with scheduling meetings that did generate value. Did you book travel arrangements for your boss for out of town meetings? Describe the savings you generated if you booked the travel yourself. Even if you worked through a corporate travel department, you still had the ability to cut costs by your choices of flight times, hotels and rental cars.
  4. In addition, you likely had the opportunity to set up meetings outside of the office – lunch meetings, conferences, events, etc. While setting up these events, you had the opportunity to make choices … and each choice represented a cost vs value decision, giving you the opportunity to cut costs and create value.

  5. Grunt and gofer work: Chances are that some of this grunt and gofer work helped your boss implement decisions that cut costs or increased revenue. Focus on the specific things you did that helped advance projects and describe the employer value of those projects. Ex: Tracked project costs helping the project come in 10% under budget. This may have been 1/100th of your time, but your resume isn’t a timesheet.

How can you apply this example to your position?

To describe the value to your employer, when you didn’t provide value directly, think about how:

  • You saved your boss time, allowing him/her more time to achieve great things
  • You helped others be more productive, helping them create value
  • You solved problems, allowing others to produce (ex: desktop support or help desk)
  • You reduced risk (ex: Internal audit, accounting or legal)
  • You reduced returns or increased customer satisfaction, leading to increased repeat sales (ex: customer support)
  • You made your boss look good

These are just a few examples of how you can recognize employer value you provided, even when your job wasn’t responsible for delivering direct value.

When you think outside your cubicle door, thinking of how your job affected others, the value you delivered starts to become clearer.

So think about your employer value from a broader sense … isn’t it easier to see how you made money for your employer?


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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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