thumbs upThe foundation to the success of every step of the job search – from identifying the right job, to securing the interview, to getting an above market offer – is in first identifying your “Solution.” Without this firmly defined, everything else you build upon in the process is going to have a weak foundation. The end result: a prolonged job search, fewer interviews, jobs that don’t pan out and offers that come in below where you want them.

Your Solution is your go-to-market message telling companies why they need to not only talk to you, but hire you. It is a well crafted, comprehensive list of quantifiables that show your addition to a company’s team is an investment they cannot pass up. Your ROI is clear cut. It is much more than bullets for a resume or an “elevator speech.” It is a mindset that you take with you through every stage of the interview process to set you apart for your competition.

It does a number of critical things as well:

  • Clearly defining Your Solution makes you more valuable to prospective companies – making you stand out in a sea of competition.
  • With the Your Solution mindset in interviews, you no longer need to worry about what questions you are going to be asked – you will have greater control over what is discussed.
  • Your Solution keeps you on message from the first interview to the offer – reinforcing why the company must hire you.
  • Staying “on message” with Your Solution continues to set you apart from the competition – securing you a spot as the front runner.
  • Your Solution paints a picture for your future employer of the exact role you will be playing inside the company – getting them to visualize you as an employee.
  • When it comes time for the offer, Your Solution has made your case for you – helping you get top dollar in your job offer.
  • Your Solution makes it clearer, quicker which opportunities aren’t a good fit for you – so you can focus on the job you really want and deserve.
  • While all these pieces are crucial to a successful job search campaign, today I am focusing on the last point: the importance to finding an opportunity that is a good fit.

Too often, the interview process results in putting emotion over intelligence. As the interviewee, you are striving to establish rapport, build a relationship and often can unwittingly do so glossing over what might be long-term fit issues. This is true for the person interviewing you too. And, with the lack of formal training given to hiring manager on how to properly interview and select team members they often fall back to “going with their gut” and hire who they like. But, just like a first date, the excitement of something new can result in losing sight of critical issues that will keep you from ever walking down the aisle.

Don’t get me wrong. Loving where you work – the people, the culture and the product – is extremely important. But, when that overshadows your actual role, you can get yourself into a pot of hot water and end up somewhere that you like the people but don’t provide true value to the company. Keeping on target with Your Solution will help you avoid this. As you define where you are best suited, the problems/pains that your background has positioned you to solve best and where you excel, you keep your decision making equally balanced between emotion and intelligence.

Another thing to remember is that accepting a position that isn’t the right fit, but rather the “fit for right now,” has a potentially disastrous downside. Just like we didn’t arrive at this economic crisis over night, we aren’t going to get out of it in the blink of an eye either. As companies continue to downsize and trim the fat, being a bad fit can easily manifest itself in poor job performance, subpar results, and alienating co-workers. The company that extends an offer today may very well find themselves making cuts a quarter or two from now. And, the outcome of your mismatch could result in you being back on the street looking for a job again.

Everyone’s situation is different, but all can agree that the job search is tiresome, draining and something you would like to put behind you as soon as possible. And, no doubt, a new job offer is always welcomed news when it arrives. But, you still want to make sure it is going to be the right match. Defining Your Solution and staying focused on it is one of the best ways to make certain you don’t find yourself repeating a job search in a year (or less).

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