How to Position Yourself as The Solution

In a recent article, 'Focus on Positioning, Not Perfection', I talked about how you should craft your resume in a way that speaks to an employer as you are the solution to their problem(s). 

Crafting your resume this way is called ‘Positioning’. You need to position yourself as that resource that possesses the skill set that can solve the employer’s problem(s). 

Positioning will help you differentiate yourself from the other hundreds, yes hundreds, of other people applying to the same position you are.  

So how do you go about properly positioning yourself? 

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Self-Assessment

First, you need to do a quick self-assessment that will determine how wide the gap is between your current career and the career you want to work in next.

For instance, prior to being in the program/project management industry I was in a sales career for 9 years out of college. 

So, when I wanted to transition from a sales to a program/project management career I knew I had a large gap to fill from a positioning perspective.  

At the time I was just as lost as you feel as to how the heck do I transition from one industry to another with no prior experience. 

To determine the gap I recommend the following: 

  • Review the job description of the position you’re interested in and compare the job’s responsibilities against what you do day-to-day in your current career.
  • After reviewing honestly ask yourself if what you do now day-to-day aligns to the job’s responsibilities. 
  • For any of the responsibilities that you feel you do not have any direct experience you will have to close that gap by building a narrative on how your current experience does relate.

Closing the Gap

Once you have identified your gaps the next step is closing the gaps so that you are qualified for the career you want.

So, with that in mind start thinking about the daily activities you perform today and how those relate to what is required in the new career you’re interested in.

For example, when I was in sales, I had no direct project management experience to document, but as a friend told me, ‘you do project management like things every day, but you just don’t view it that way.’  

So I started thinking about the daily activities I did in my sales career and how those activities translated to a project coordinator job I was interested in applying for. 

Once I listed the activities/responsibilities I performed on a daily basis in my sales career I pulled up a project management position and reviewed the qualifications the employer was seeking. 

Tell Your Story

After reviewing the qualifications, I began thinking of how I could articulate how my current activities/responsibilities transition to solving the employer’s problem(s).

This is what I like to call building your narrative. Your resume needs to tell a convincing story to the reader, hiring manger, of how you’re qualitied for a position.

Building your narrative requires connecting for a reader how your current activates/responsibilities are relevant and thus make you qualified to perform a new career’s activities/responsibilities. 

For instance, I built my narrative of how I:

  • Worked with teams to implement solutions after the sale
  • Demonstrated leadership
  • Mentored co-workers
  • Presented to executives

By building my narrative this way I was demonstrating to potential employers I was qualified for a project management position and capable of solving the employer’s problem(s) even though I did not have direct experience. 

Your end goal with your narrative should be just like that of the novel you can’t put down:

  • Separate you from the other candidates
  • Keep the reader interested 
  • Make the reader want to bring you in for an interview to discuss your narative in detail

Summary

So let's recap the 3 simple steps.

Peform a self-assessment to determine the gap between your current career and the career you want.

Close the gaps by aligning your current day-to-day activities/responsiblities to demonstrate you're capable of solving a future employer's problem(s). 

Build your narrative to tell a compelling story that makes the reader want to talk to you in person about how you can solve their problems. 

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