What types of questions are you asking yourself as you contemplate a career change? For many, it’s, “How will I fit in a new industry?” For a moment, I want you to switch your focus. Turn your thinking around … away from yourself … and imagine you are the hiring manager at the other side of the table conducting the interview. Think about the process from the mindset of the HR professional who is charged with selecting two or three of the best candidates out of 500 to put in front of the hiring manager.

So often, in the process of changing careers or jobs, we focus on what we do. We focus on the responsibilities we have had in the past. We focus on the things that seem important to us without regard to what the employer really needs. Generally speaking, there is a gap between what you do and what the employer wants.

Or is there?

One of the biggest reasons why qualified people don’t get hired is not a skills or experience gap. It’s a communications gap.

At the end of the day, the hiring manager doesn’t really care if you are wearing a blue tie or a red tie. They don’t care if you are in a dress or a suit. They don’t care where you worked or what college you attended ten years ago. What they care about is whether or not you can solve a problem they have. That is why they are hiring in the first place. And that should be why you are there. They are looking to solve a problem.

Your job is to communicate to them how you can help solve it.

Maybe the company is experiencing a lack of growth in a particular region. Or, perhaps there is a team or department in need of leadership. Or processes need to be changed or implemented. Whatever the challenge, you need to demonstrate that you understand it and can help them overcome it.

Using the same perspective, think about your career. Think about your last job. Think about the problems you solved over the years and the results you achieved. What did they mean to the company, the owner, your boss? That’s what hiring managers want to hear about. That’s what matters to them.

Now, go turn that into a value statement that actually means something.

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