Are You an ‘Aspirin’ or ‘Vitamin’ to Employers?

Posted: January 14, 2013 by Alison in Finding a Job
Tags: ,

By J.T. O’Donnell

Yesterday, in a group coaching session, I had a heart-to-heart with one of our new members. She explained, in spite of glowing recommendations and lots of supportive friends and family telling her how great she is, deep down, she questioned if they were all lying to her. Why? She’s been looking for work for 18 months and can’t seem to get anyone to interview her, let alone, hire her. I asked her what qualities she was showcasing when she networked and met with potential hiring managers. She said, “I share with them all the important ones, like the fact that I’m resourceful, upbeat, hard-working, organized, and efficient.” To which I said, “Those sound like vitamins to me.” And employers don’t buy vitamins today. They buy aspirin. Let me explain…

You Get Hired to Alleviate Pain

There is only one major reason a candidate gets hired for a job: The hiring manager has a problem and the candidate is seen as the one that can solve it the best. Which means your goal as a job seeker is to showcase how you will be the hiring manager’s aspirin for their pain. Being “resourceful, upbeat, hard-working, organized, and efficient” are all qualities hiring managers naturally expect from an employee. They are like vitamins, they keep future pain away. However, it’s the aspirin which stops acute pain – and, my friends, makes aspirin always perceived as worth more to the employer.

Translation: You need to differentiate from all the other vitamins (a.k.a. job seekers) out there by showing how you solve problems to alleviate a hiring manager’s pain. In short, BE THE ASPIRIN!

Here are three steps you can take to do that effectively.

Step 1: Identify the Symptoms

To start, you need to look at what problems hiring managers in need of your skill sets are having today. This requires some research. You must figure out what is causing the need to hire someone, and more importantly, what will happen if they don’t find the right person to alleviate the pain. Once you do that, you can start to tailor your personal brand to showcase how you solve those problems.

Step 2: Be Proactive in Dispensing Your Aspirin

The next step is to reach out to hiring managers directly to inquire if they are currently experiencing these types of problems. You want to start a dialog around their pain so you can introduce the fact that you are the aspirin. Think about it: If you are the one who reaches out about the pain and has the solution, don’t you think the hiring manager is going to be inclined to check out what you have to offer?

Step 3: Keep Your Aspirin Within Arm’s Reach

Even if the hiring managers you speak with aren’t currently in pain, they most likely will be at some point in the future. Your job is to stay in touch with them regularly so they remember you are the aspirin. The goal is to use a simple job search technique that lets you share some value with them on a small scale as a way to showcase to the employer your pain-relieving skills. It’s the ideal way to earn their trust so when the pain finally hits them; you are the first person they contact.

Struggling to Determine What Pain You Relieve? Get Help

If you feel like you are struggling to determine what problems you solve for employers, then I strongly suggest you get some help. Knowing what pain you alleviate is vital to being able to identify employers who will appreciate you. The alternative is to blindly apply to jobs and hope they see you as the aspirin – a long shot at best. Why not get clear on your value and start showing employers your true abilities as a problem-solver. Not only will you find being the aspirin to their pain a real confidence-booster to your self-esteem (who doesn’t like being the aspirin?), you’ll also increase the chances they take you up on your offer to make them feel better.


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