Contemporary college graduates, as well as highly accomplished career changers aren’t looking for just any job. Rather than attempting to impress a potential employer with a useless catch-all résumé, today’s savvy job seekers can take a proactive position and choose their dream job. They connect with the company through storytelling and add value by solving a company-based challenge in the form of a consulting case report.
This approach, utilized by both college graduates and seasoned professionals looking to change careers, allows you to take ownership of your future by shaping a space that fits you instead of trying to fit into any tolerable available position.
For example, Noa had a bachelor’s degree in business, an interest in brand development, a passion for good music and a desire to be a member of a community of like-minded people. She reached out to The Lilypad, a music venue and community gathering spot in Cambridge, Mass., to learn about its challenges and tell its story. By applying her expertise in brand building and community involvement, she provided The Lilypad a consulting case that let her gain her voice as an expert and position herself in the music industry.
Job seekers like Noa who want to feel empowered and connect with their dream job are taking initiative to reach out to companies and make their case using a winning methodology. Coined “BE-EDGE,” the method lets you create opportunities to make your case and shape your space in your desired industry. The BE-EDGE acronym represents the process for developing your “Boutique Employability” (BE) by following four E-D-G-E steps. These include:
(E)lucidating your professional focus and aspirations – First, it’s important to clearly define who you are as a professional and the space in the market that you wish to claim as yours. This new professional core should draw from your multidimensional qualities and qualifications to differentiate your skillset from other applicants and pinpoint the kind of work that will satisfy your professional desires. Once defined, you can develop a list of organizations that best fits your vision, strengths and interests.
(D)eveloping trust with company insiders – Equipped with a well-defined message of how you envision yourself as a professional and a list of organizations that dovetail with your aspirations, you then reach out to the company with an offer to tell its story of growth and make a company case. You build this case around one real-life challenge that the company is interested in solving. This requires developing trust with a key internal contact by demonstrating your genuine interest and understanding of the organization’s vision, challenges and circumstances.
By volunteering to take on the role of company researcher and biographer, collect market and industry data for the company and share its trials and success in overcoming the challenge that you’ve identified together, you earn the insider’s trust. For example, an organization may be looking for a way to better connect with Millennials, facing a decision as to which markets it should enter, or determining how to bring more volunteers onboard to fulfill its nonprofit mission. To ensure a win-win scenario, work with your organizational contact to find a challenge that fits well with the impact you desire to create in your targeted industry.
(G)enerating value by solving the challenge – Through a rigorous process, you prepare a consulting report in which you analyze the company challenge through a prism of information you’ve collected and the personal expertise you’re able to apply. You provide action-based recommendations that generate value for your company while proving you are capable of defining a course of action, addressing obstacles and identifying needed resources.
Your multidimensional profile will let you generate value that the company will appreciate. Because you’ve already developed trust with company insiders, they will listen. Because you have learned the company language, vision and how it operates, you will know how to communicate your ideas.
(E)xciting the market – Connecting to your envisioned profession with a case challenge is how you put your stamp on the type of work you love and that you plan to continue doing in the future. You will share your report with your targeted company, giving its team a clear sense of your capabilities, your willingness to take initiative and your suitability in the company.
With company permission, you can take the report to a broader audience. For example, present your consulting case at professional conferences, publish it in case collections or professional journals or share it with other potential employers. Maximize your outreach to further articulate your Boutique Employability with a tangible example of how you can address real-life challenges and generate value.
**Originally published at CEO World