Talking with my grandson, a college senior interviewing for an internship, made me think about one of the basic questions everyone must address every day. Most of the time it is not in the forefront of thoughts, but it certainly is important to keep in the background.  It is one of the first questions I ask when coaching individuals, whether they are determining how to be better or to find that next perfect role.

Why should someone hire you?

Face it – people who can contribute are in high demand.  How they convey what they offer is extremely important.  Hint:  what you want is important, but what you can contribute is critical.

Successful people think like entrepreneurs.  They are passionate; they focus on attaining goals; they overcome obstacles; they make decisions; they take risks; they are committed to success.  If that describes you, you are taking responsibility for your own success, and in doing so, helping the organization succeed.

Managing your career requires effectively communicating why you bring value to an organization, the one where you are currently working or one you would like to join.  Here are some suggestions to assist you in creating a message:

  • Assess yourself. Understand your strengths as well as what you are passionate about.
  • Put yourself in the buyer’s perspective (the person you want to convince). Recognize what she needs to accomplish – what she would pay you to deliver.
  • Communicate the value you bring; do not focus on what you want, but rather on what you offer.
  • Consider previous experience only as your foundation; emphasize what you have learned and how it will benefit her organization.
  • Continue learning. New technologies make it easy to become obsolete.  You are fortunate if your organization provides development opportunities.  If it does not, take responsibility to develop and hone skills that bring value.
  • Think of your career as a journey, not a destination.

Communicate the benefits you bring to an organization in terms of what is important to them – deal in their 90%.

People that are hired, promoted or retain their job do so because of what others believe they can contribute.  Be prepared to help them what you can do.

This type of thinking and action will spotlight the value you add to the situation and create opportunities for meaningful conversations.  That’s the first step in getting hired.   It is also part of being an engaged, valued employee.


Larry Shoemaker is President of Shoemaker & Associates/Cornerstone Atlanta.  He helps organizations identify, recruit, assess and retain talent.  He is also President of Cornerstone International Group, a global retained search organization comprised of about 70 independently owned offices located around the globe, with headquarters in Shanghai, China and Atlanta, GA.  He holds an International Coach Foundation ACC Credential.