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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers


The Pertinent and the Powerful

23 May 2010 5:31 PM | Anonymous

By Stephanie Clark

Hmm … sounds like the title of a new soap opera, but there’s no time for television as we continue to prep you for that interview! Listing the pertinent and powerful details is in reference to the T-chart that you created that matched your existing skills, experience, and education to the position’s needs. T-chart examples may look like these that follow: An IT Project Manager likely listed major projects she’s worked on, and committees she chaired; an Administrative Assistant listed the number of staff she supports and what skills she uses to support them; and a Sales Account Manager has listed relationship management, major accounts, sales growth and so on.

Well then, what, you may be thinking, are these pertinent and powerful details? The pertinent will be in relation to what you know of the scope of the position to which you’ve applied. For example, The IT Project Manager applying to a major corporation won’t focus on the fact that her current employer only has smallish projects, she will showcase her abilities as a chair of cross-divisional meetings, and the strategic ideas she brought forth; The Administrative Assistant who is aspiring to an executive assistant role will not highlight the fact that she files documents,  but she will definitely share her recreation of a dysfunctional filing system; and the Account Manager who is interviewing to sell technology will stick to his tech-related sales, rather than focusing on the non-related sales of text books. That’s sticking to the pertinent rather than focusing on the less important.

And what about powerful? Another word for “powerful” is influential. And it is the influential details that you want to pull in. You must sell, not simply tell. Back to our interview threesome! The IT Project Manager will now sell her value by explaining how she influenced key players in the meetings she chaired, and how it led to smoother rollouts; she will give specific examples of her strategic ideas and then correlate these to business by providing some context to the money these saved or earned. The Administrative Assistant will go on to explain how her filing system minimized the space needed and saved the cost of expanding the filing room, a capital saving of approximately $10K. And our Account Manager will fill out his workplace story of selling technology by adding that he was the only Account Manager of five entrusted with growing this new market on his employer’s behalf. He’ll add that this was in recognition of his advanced tech knowledge, gained through a related certificate that he pursued because of a passion for tech-related gizmos! He could complete the story by sharing how much he earned for his company in his first year of tech sales and what market share percentage that represents. He now has his interviewer SOLD on the fact that he can absolutely fit into this advanced tech company.

Show how what you did correlates to profits through performance and productivity. That’s how to sell rather than tell. Back to your T-chart, to fill it out with details both pertinent and powerful.

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