By Don Orlando
You will be hired as soon as you meet two requirements. First, you must prove that you will make the target organization more money than it takes to find, recruit, hire, and retain you. Second, you must provide “living, breathing” transferable examples of you solving the kind of problems a company needs you to solve in your career field. It is so tempting to just show the results. But there are two problems with that approach. First, it’s backward looking. An employer, swamped with hundreds of resumes, may incorrectly conclude his organization doesn’t look anything like the one you worked for. Since he can’t see the value of your success story to his business’ success, he may stop reading your resume. Second, you probably had much more responsibility that your age group in the civilian world. I’ve known E-5s and O-4s who were responsible for millions of dollars in resources. It’s not that civilian employers don’t believe your claim; it’s just that they can’t see how it applies to them.
Here’s how to counter such difficulties. Think about the problems you solved that are related to your target career field. What was the problem? Remember to concentrate on the problem and not the symptom. Example: Falling sales is not a problem. It is the symptom. Ask yourself what caused the symptom. In this example, falling sales could be due to a new competitor in the market, a fall in demand, an understaffed sales force…you get the idea. What did you do to solve the problem? Specific actions count. What were the results? Quantify if you can. The person with the number wins. If the number sounds overwhelming, use a conservative approach. Does a $23M program seem intimidating? Consider describing it as a “multi-million” dollar program. If you can compare your results with your previous performance or the company standard, so much the better. Was there an unusual context? Did you do two weeks’ work in three days? Was this a problem you have never worked before?
Now you are on your way to providing vivid, vital proof that you can return an employer’s investment in you to your mutual benefit.