A while back, I talked about the need to prove your worth to a potential employer — to prove that you can provide a return on investment. I still think it’s an important piece of the puzzle, but during my conversation with Sherry and Sarah at Bowdoin College, Sherry pointed out that job searchers, especially recent graduates, need to show other qualities, as well.
She said something to the effect of, “ROI is results-oriented business-speak. And really, young graduates don’t have much business experience or proven results. You have other things, though. You’re smart as heck, you’re enthusiastic and you can learn things at the speed of light.”
So what’s the implication for us? I think it’s to incorporate the qualities of enthusiasm and intellect into your personal brand and job-search campaign. To give you a concrete example, I think you should take a page out of Jamie Varon‘s book, or rather, Web site.
Jamie wants to work for Twitter. How do I know that? Because she built a site that says so. Yes, she built an entire Web site about how she wants to work at Twitter. Then she publicized it — guess where? On Twitter. Over the past few days it’s gone viral.
If that doesn’t show enthusiasm, I don’t know what does. She’s also demonstrating her aptitude for the medium and her understanding of ROI with her list, “10 Reasons Twitter Should Hire Me.”
All the items are under 140 characters (the limit for Twitter). Numbers one through nine show her overwhelming enthusiasm. But number 10 shows she can produce results, too. She talks about how many retweets her story has earned and how many original hits the Web site has received.
It’s the perfect combination of enthusiasm and ROI.
I’m not saying you have to or should go as far as Jamie Varon, but remember her enthusiasm as you’re writing your cover letters and sitting in interviews.
Ask yourself, “Why do I really want to work here? What about this organization makes me excited?” and convey those ideas in your answers, instead (or along with) your list of past experiences and results.
Put yourself in the position of the company. Wouldn’t you rather hear a person who’s genuinely excited about the job, as opposed to someone just rattling off the same type of accomplishments you’ve been listening to all day? One executive got so tired of the same old boring cover letters, he submitted one of his own to Craigslist just to show job seekers how to do it. See the balance of enthusiasm and ROI?