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Will future employers find my current experience valuable?

add_valueNick from Montclair State University asked:

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business and have been working in the real estate industry as a sales associate. This is my first job out of college and I was wondering if  future potential employers will find value in my real estate sales experience? 

Hi Nick –

There is a lot packed into your question, but I can sum up my response in two statements:  Employers will find your current experience valuable if they understand it and if it is relevant to their hiring needs.

Employers will find your current experience valuable if they understand it

Employers don’t inherently “get” you.  They don’t understand you, your interests or your experience until you help them do so.  Informational interviews, resumes, cover letters, professional networking activities and job interviews all give the opportunity to help employers understand who you are, what you want and what you offer, but they will only understand you if you do a good job of describing yourself.

In your resume, don’t just list job descriptions. Rather, provide examples of what you actually did.  Examples of what you did illustrate what you capable of doing and make your qualifications understandable.

In cover letters, address how what you offer and are seeking line up well with what the employer is seeking in candidates.

In interviews, tell your story.  Don’t rehearse or script the “answers they want to hear.”  Be honest and focus on the aspects of your qualifications that matter to the employer.

In your professional networking and informational interviewing, practice sharing your examples and ask questions that will help you better understand how you might fit into their worlds.

Your job is to help potential employers understand you.  Make it as easy as possible for them to do so.

Employers will find your current experience valuable if it is relevant to their hiring needs

You might have exceptional experience and a tremendous skill set, but if your experience and skills aren’t what an employer needs, that employer will not find your experience or skills particularly relevant.  They will probably think – “Wow, that’s a talented guy.  If only I needed someone with those skills and that experience.” – and then move on to the next candidate.

When looking for a job, look for a job that matches well with the experience, skills, talents and interests you offer.  If what you offer is relevant to what an employer needs, and you do a good job of making yourself understandable to that employer, you will be a competitive candidate.  It is that simple and that complex – at the same time!

Does that mean you are destined to a career in real estate sales because that is what you are doing right now?  Absolutely not!

It does mean that if you want to move into different field, you will have to demonstrate to employers in other fields that you mean it, that you understand their fields, and that you believe the skills and experience you developed in real estate sales will transfer well into their worlds.

Answer the following four questions well, and employers will find your experience relevant

1. Why do you want this job?

You have to be able to explain and defend your reasoning for wanting the job for which you are interviewing.  “Needing a job” is not a sufficient response. You have to explain how you think the job fits you.

2. Why should we hire you?

You are not the only candidate, so why should they select you?  Again, “needing a job” is not a sufficient response.  You have to explain how your combination of experience, education, skills and qualities/characteristics match up with the experience, education, skills and qualities/characteristics they are seeking in candidates. You have to explain how you think you fit the job.

3. Why do you want to work for this organization?

You must demonstrate that you have done your homework.  When you say “I’d love to work for your company!” – you have to be able to back it up.  What is it about the company that you find appealing.  You have to be able to explain how  and why you think you will fit in their culture.

4. Why do you want to work in this profession/industry?

You must demonstrate that you have some knowledge about the profession/industry. They aren’t going to just take your word for it.  Just as every company’s culture is unique, every industry and profession has its own unique features and characteristics; features and characteristics that – depending upon what you are seeking out of your career – can be viewed as advantages or disadvantages.  You have to be able to explain that you understand their world and will be able to fit in their world.

See, it just that simple and just that complex – at the same time.

Good Luck!

matt-signature

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