Last week we spent some time helping Jay, a job seeker, a bit frustrated job seeker at that, think differently about how to communicate his value, accomplishments, and differentiators. About how to message and position himself differently throughout his cover letter, resume, and interview process.
One of the most effective ways in thinking differently is to use message clouds, especially comparative ones. Jay was quite interested in McKinsey & Company. After doing some research we found "What we look for" in the careers section. We then created a message cloud based on the ~550 words. Jay was amazed when he saw the results shown below.
McKinsey & Company's key hiring messages were people, entrepreneurs, clients, leadership, etc. People is the number one message with nothing even coming close. This message cloud painted a very different picture from what Jay was positioning in his overall job efforts. His message focused on his analytical expertise and consulting knowledge.
To protect Jay's confidentiality, we created a message cloud on Ira Koretsky, our founder's resume, just to show you how to use the message clouds. Look at the two message clouds. In just a few seconds you can easily see how different Ira's key messages are from McKinsey & Company. Jay's results were as different as Ira's.
If you are like Jay, your first step is to better understand and "think" like the prospective employer. Here is a quick list of how to better message:- Find content/words from position descriptions, web pages like "What we look for," Linkedin Company Pages, Facebook, Tweets, and anything else you can find.
- Create message clouds for these various documents and sources
- Compare and contrast your message clouds to those from the prospective employer
- Identify the gaps and where you need to message differently
- Rewrite with different messages from the new different position/point of view, matching your prospective employer
- Verify you are on-message by creating new message clouds