By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS
The subject of our last several postings has revolved around different aspects of job interviews.  I posted information about preparation for the interview in general.  Now it is time to get into the specifics of providing what I call the “chocolate frosting” to an employer demonstrating why they want you instead of the other candidate.  You have presented your value proposition and now it is time to get into the guts of proving it.  Clients wonder how they are going to do it. They have kept their noses to the grindstone for their entire career and now, due to the economy, find themselves looking for a new position.  How do they document an entire lifetime of work?  Where do they begin?  As an executive career coach, it is my job to help them draw out the fruits of their labor and organize it in such a way as to make an appetizing presentation for the potential employer.

After getting over the shock of the whole situation, I advise that it is time to get down to work and think about the situations they encountered over the course of their careers.  What stands out?  What proves that they can do what they say they can?  This proof needs to roll off of their tongue like a ball rolls down a bowling alley headed for a strike.  If it wobbles, it will go into the gutter. When it is directed with laser precision, a strike is a likely outcome.

So, how do you do it? Well, I tell my clients to think about what the challenges were that they faced in several situations,  what actions they took and why and what the results were because they went to work and handled it.  This specificity will lead an employer to think that “Well, if he or she could do that for a previous employer, they can do it for me now.”  The preparation of these stories in advance helps present confidence to the employer and shows you are capable of doing what you say because you can effortlessly explain what happened. The time to prepare these stories is NOT when you are in the interview chair!   Clients prepare their stories, review them and practice them until they are able to say them in a smooth, effortless manner.   I want the hiring decision maker to know that when my client goes to work, bells ring, mountains crumble and birds sing because my client can take care of the challenges at their company.

Please leave me a comment and let me know if this posting helped you.  If you need help in your career search, please feel free to contact me by email at [email protected] or by telephone at 203-323-9977.  As always, I wish you every success. Let’s get to work!