\par Make It All About The Employer \par

Make It All About The Employer

Over the past few weeks, I’ve encountered an issue from employers that I think warrants discussion here. It’s the idea that job candidates tend to present themselves in cover letters and interviews as wanting the job because of what it will do for them, rather than how hiring them will bring value to the employer. \par \par Let’s compare a couple of examples:\par \par 1)\tab “I am interested in Education Law and a former teacher, and this would be a great opportunity for me to get experience in this area I am passionate about.” and,\par \par 2)\tab “I am interested in Education Law, and my teaching experience helped me develop strong communication skills and a deep knowledge of the relevant issues that make me uniquely qualified for this position.”\par \par The first example represents what the employers brought to my attention. It may seem harmless, but the focus on you raises a concern for employers who consider the millennial generation to be self-absorbed and more interested in their warped idea of work-life balance than the well-being of their employer (their words not mine). It also does nothing to make the employer aware of your skills and abilities, nor why the employer should find them valuable.\par \par The second example, on the other hand, takes a completely different tack. It begins the same by expressing interest in the practice area, but then goes on describe the candidate’s experience and acquired skills. It says nothing about the benefit the candidate will receive if she gets the position, but rather what the employer stands to gain if she is brought on board (and conversely what the employer will miss out on if they don’t hire her).\par \par The idea of spelling out for an employer what skills have been acquired through experiences is not well understood, nor is its importance. During a mock interview I’ll sometimes learn about an experience someone had prior to law school that is really fantastic, such as being a teacher, but they will fail to show me what skills they therefore possess and how that will translate into making my (the employer’s) life better. While I think I know some of the skill sets teachers bring to the table, I certainly don’t know them all, and I definitely don’t know this specific teacher’s strengths. Most employers will be in the same position. So it’s critical that the teacher/candidate communicates what skills she developed as a teacher, as well as how those skills translate into the legal world for that specific employer.\par \par Aside from the practical benefits of approaching cover letters and interviews from the employer’s perspective rather than your own (i.e. using example two rather than example one), you will also set yourself apart from the vast numbers of candidates applying for jobs. I’ve talked before about looking for ways to stand out in a positive way, and this is a perfect example of how to do that.\par \par So as you are writing cover letters and preparing to answer interview questions, take some time to consider what is it the employer needs from me? What value do I bring to them? How can I demonstrate that I have the skills/experience/personality/work ethic necessary to benefit them? Ask these questions, make it all about the employer, and you’ll be well on your way to improving your odds of moving forward in the hiring process.\par \par Connect with Daniel at Daniel_Hare@Baylor.edu and/or @BaylorLawDaniel on Twitter.\par \par Job of the Week: Each week I highlight a job in Symplicity you might be interested in but may have missed. This week's job is: Summer Clerk at Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody in Austin(1L) Log in to Symplicity to view this job and apply. \par ]]>\par

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