Most everyone knows hiring managers are looking for people that can “get the job done” – but what does that really mean? Is it someone that will work nine to five? Or, is it someone that will process all the requisitions in three days? How about someone that can manage 10 staff members and is respected by all subordinates?

Each of these are good skills, but hiring managers are really looking for something more. They expect all of the preceding skills and for the new hire to deliver real value to the organization. In this context, “real value” means being additive to the organization’s overall goals.

Typical organizational goals are usually quantified into one or more these four categories:

1.    Increasing or maintaining revenues by increasing sales, better customer support, etc.
2.    Reducing and/or controlling costs
3.    Improving cash flow
4.    Adhering to and voiding regulatory issues, penalties, or taxes.

Can you show how you impacted one or more of these in past positions? Every job in every organization – whether it be the CEO or the janitor – will impact one or more of these goals. When you relate your daily job duties to these overall goals you will be communicating real value to a prospective employer. In some positions, it’s relatively easy to show value. For example, a sales person makes quota thereby directly generating revenue. A finance manager finds a way to lower audit costs. A purchasing agent searches out and contracts with less expensive suppliers. These positions all successfully show completing tasks that benefited the company.

It’s harder to identify real value with staff positions, like support manager or a compliance specialist, and even more so with front line jobs like a janitor. How can a janitor impact sales or costs? Let’s say you were a janitor at a fast food restaurant. How could you impact hamburger sales? To help you relate your past job efforts to one of the previous business goals, ask yourself this simple question: “What bad thing would happen to your organization if you failed to do your job?” Which of the four general goals would be impacted? In the case of our janitor, if the rest rooms are unkempt many customers would likely stop frequenting the restaurant. That would result in lost sales. So, if you can say: “I maintained all the rest rooms and never had a complaint,” you must have had a indirect positive impact on sales. And if sales grew while you were working there you could even take some credit for that growth!

How about compliance specialist or a tax accountant? These positions typically are avoidance focused. For example, avoiding Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) fines, or minimizing taxes. It’s trickier to identify value for staff positions that focus more on avoidance. As a compliance manager you might say: “We were never cited for labor or OSHA violations, while the average for our industry was running about $43,000 in penalties each year.” That’s an implied benefit to the company of $43,000 per year.

If you were responsible for a department were you able to reduce supply expenses or input labor? If so, by how much? Did you operate under budget, or maintain current staff levels while volume grew by 20 percent? All these can be the basis of real value statements.

Quantifying real value can be tricky, particularly if you do not have a finance background. To learn more about how to quantify dollar value, tune into the next installment of Frank’s Job Search Advice series!

Frank’s Job Search Advice is authored by National Able Network board member, Frank L. Poggio. Frank is the President of The Kelzon Group and currently volunteers as a Career Coach and trainer at National Able Network and CareerPlace.