Hiring managers don’t care if you are qualified for a job. They don’t care if you’ve done the same work in the past and studied it in school. And they especially don’t care if you are a consummate professional with a great personality. The only thing they truly care about is whether you can deliver more value to the company than anyone else can. Recruiting is a business decision like anything else, and you have to show that you can offer the most for the least. You do that by defining your market value, and you determine your market value by following these steps:

  1. Scrutinize Yourself – What are your strengths and weaknesses, special skills and skills gaps? You can’t begin to determine your value until you take an honest accounting of yourself. This can be hard to do objectively, so solicit feedback from friends and co-workers.
  2. Identify Expertise – In what areas can you truly call yourself an expert? These can be either subjects or skills, but in either instance your abilities need to be extraordinary. If you are in fact an expert you stand apart from the majority of other candidates.
  3. Study the Job Description – Job descriptions are surprisingly subtle documents. They list a lot of explicit requirements, but there are usually others that are simply implied or written between the lines. Try to determine exactly what the ideal candidate for this position would look like from the employer’s perspective. Then compare that to your own professional profile and try to highlight the areas that overlap.
  4. Research the Company – Is the company making a hire because they are growing, changing directions, or have a hole in the workforce? What is their place in the industry, who is their competitors, and what kind of reputation do their products/services have? Use this information to identify areas where you have a unique ability to add value and solve problems.
  5. Accentuate Achievements – Your accomplishments speak a lot louder than your qualifications. Reflect back over your career and pick out the times when you did more than expected, came in under budget or before deadline, accepted new responsibilities, or solved exotic problems. As much as possible, tie those achievements to hard metrics. Then use them to frame yourself as a candidate who can get more done.
  6. Consider the Details – Is it likely that the person hired will require relocation compensation, additional training, specialized benefits, or an inflated salary? If most would, but you won’t, you maximize the total ROI of the company’s hiring decision. Be creative, but be sure not to undersell yourself.

Determining your market value is just one step in the job hunt. You also need to find the right opportunities, draft a great looking resume, ace the interview, and settle successfully into your new role. Find resources to help you through every step in the process by working with RennerBrown.

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