One of the most important things you can do during a job search is show the hiring manager what you can bring to the company. Employers look for candidates who will add value to their organization, and one of the hiring manager’s goals is to make sure the people they hire are top performers who will succeed in the position. You can make it easier for them by showing you’re very well qualified for the job.
Your resume, cover letter, and other job materials can demonstrate how you have added value in your previous positions. If you’re selected for an interview, share examples of your accomplishments to demonstrate how you would be the perfect pick for the role.
By clearly showing the ways you succeeded in previous positions, you will help employers see why you would be a valuable employee.
How to Show a Prospective Employer Your Value
Define “success” in your previous positions. Before even writing about job performance, think about how success was measured in your prior roles. If you worked in sales, success might have been measured by the number of clients you had. If you were a teacher, your success could have been measured in part by your students’ grades and test scores. Make sure you know what success looked like in each position you’ve held.
Make a list of ways you have achieved success. Once you have defined “success” in your previous jobs, make a list of times you went above and beyond to deliver it. For example, you might note a month when you acquired a number of new clients, or a time when your students’ test scores improved significantly over the course of the year.
Quantify that success. Once you have a list of accomplishments and achievements, think of ways to quantify that success. Numbers help hiring managers see precisely how you've added value to a company. These numbers do not have to relate to profitability. Instead, they might refer to time saved, costs reduced, or processes improved. For example, if you are an administrative assistant, you might explain that you transitioned your office to an e-file system that saved the company about $1,000 per year in paper goods.
Make a list of awards you’ve received. Mentioning any awards or other forms of recognition you received at work also shows that your employer recognized your importance to the company.
Use value-related keywords. Use active verbs and other keywords in your resume and cover letter that help to show how you added value while at your previous companies. Some words you might use include:
- Under budget
When and How to Mention Your Value
Highlight Your Achievements in Your Resume
In the work history section of your resume, don’t simply list your duties for each previous job. Instead, include examples of how you added value to each company. One way to do that is to use bullet points to highlight your accomplishments in each role.
You can highlight some of your most significant value-adding examples in your resume summary, if you have one. For example, an editor might write a resume summary that says, “Freelance editor with 10 years' experience revising articles, essays, and books. Edits an average of 200 pages per week for dozens of award-winning authors and journals.” This resume summary quantifies the editor’s success in terms of her ability to handle a high volume of pages and a number of clients. It also highlights her experience with quality writing.
Share a Story in Your Cover Letter
In your cover letter, highlight two or three skills or abilities that demonstrate how you are the right fit for the job. For each skill, mention a time you used it to achieve success for your company.
For example, you could say that you are a teacher who has strong classroom management skills. You could specify you manage classrooms of up to 35 students and you have won three teaching awards for your effective classroom management.
By quantifying your success and emphasizing your awards, you will show employers that your previous organization valued you.
During a Job Interview
In your interview, you might get a specific question, such as “Tell us how you have added value at your previous jobs.” If you do, share examples of successes from the list you created before the interview.
You can also mention how you’ve added value when answering other interview questions. For example, if you are pursuing a job as a hostess and the interviewer asks whether or not you can handle stress at work, you could mention the average number of people you seated on weeknights and weekends at your previous hostessing job. This will show the employer you can manage a busy restaurant environment.
Examples of How to Show You’ve Added Value
Use these samples for inspiration when writing your resume and cover letter and when preparing for an interview.
Sample Employment History Section of a Resume
Senior Event Coordinator, ABC Events, Boston, MA 2017-Present
- Planned and executed over 125 events, including corporate retreats, fundraisers, and workshops for groups of up to 300 participants.
- Managed event budgets of up to $50,000, completing events under budget 100% of the time.
- Received an average of 4.81 out of 5 stars from clients.
Wedding Planner Assistant Coordinator, Claire Smith Weddings, Hartford, CT 2015-2017
- Co-planned and co-executed over 25 weddings with parties of up to 250 people.
- Responsible for managing relationships with over 20 vendors across the greater New England area.
- Managed budgets of up to $100,000.
- Promoted from assistant to assistant coordinator due to my excellent budgeting and organizational skills.
Sample Paragraph from a Cover Letter
You state in the job description you want a bartender with extensive experience in a fast-paced environment. I am extremely comfortable and familiar with working in large, busy restaurants. As a hostess at ABC Restaurant for three years, I sat an average of 300 tables per day. When I transitioned to runner and then bartender at XYZ Bar and Taproom, I served 200-400 customers on weekend nights. My supervisor once awarded me “Employee of the Month” because of my ability to handle the pressures of a busy work environment.
Sample Response to an Interview Question
The following is an example of a response to the interview question, "Why should we hire you?”:
I have a lot of familiarity working in a startup environment such as yours. I enjoy the opportunity to be innovative and creative, which a startup provides. You said in the job listing you want an innovative thinker who can use creativity to increase efficiency. This is the kind of work I love to do. For example, in my previous position as director of operations, staff members were often late for meetings. I realized one solution was to create a more efficient scheduling system for meetings. I switched our office to a new scheduling system that reduced missed meetings and errors in room assignments by 20%. I also offered three training courses in the new system so that there was little user error, even in the first week of using the system.