What Can You Do for Us?

You’re probably familiar with the old principle of WIIFM–What’s In It For Me? On the other hand, how often do you think about WIIFU–What’s In It For Us? Maybe not often enough.

Employers’ Perspective is Critical

If you haven’t put the needs of potential employers at the top of your list when creating your professional resume or preparing for a full-out job search, you could be wasting your time–and theirs. Most employers, if not all, won’t care that you’re a good person who deserves a good job. If they do care at all, it probably comes a distant second to how much they care about hiring someone who can bring substantial value to their organization in a number of ways, such as the following:

  1. Solve a troublesome problem as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
  2. Spot a situation with potential to become a nasty problem and identify a solution before things get out of hand.
  3. Attract and retain major customers that will significantly increase revenues over an extended period.
  4. Recruit, train and motivate teams that stand out from the rest as super-achievers enthusiastically focused on a common goal.
  5. Elevate (or at least help elevate) the company to an industry-leading market position.

Employers want someone who can hit the ground running and gather the necessary resources to pursue corporate goals with next-to-zero ramp-up time, rather than someone who needs a gentle introduction to the job and plenty of hand-holding to get started. You might think a “zero to 60 in 3 minutes” requirement is unreasonable, and in that case, maybe this isn’t the job for you (but that’s another story).

What’s important to remember is that employers often and not unreasonably tend to put their self-interest ahead of other considerations. Which gets back to “what can you do for us?”

How Can You Determine Your WIIFU Approach?

For starters, you need to know as much as you can about the company you’re pursuing before you submit your resume or make the first contact there. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. You’re responsible for scouting out relevant information through whatever means are realistically available to you. Failure to make a determined effort in that area will cost you time and possibly money as well, if the new-job train leaves the station without you.

Here are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself in order to make your WIIFU approach effective:

  • What sources of potentially useful information can I identify and access reasonably soon? Work up a plan for doing the necessary research, making relevant contacts, etc.
  • What actions am I comfortable taking–or can I motivate myself to take, if they’re somewhere outside my comfort zone–to get things moving? For instance, it’s not bragging to build an online portfolio of your unique experiences and achievements that might interest prospective employers. Then you just need to figure out how to get that information in front of your targeted employers.
  • How much time can I devote to the WIIFU-building approach to my job search, especially if I’m already feeling overloaded? Of course, only you really know what your schedule and demands are. However, it’s surprising how often we find that we can carve out an hour or two here and there, if a larger block of time appears completely out of the question.

You’ll notice that these questions are centered on what you need to do to make the approach work, but they’re still not all about you. What you want is important to you, but you need to wrap it in a package that’s important to the employer. If you can’t or won’t do that, you might as well not bother. Your competitors probably will!

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