Interviewing for a new job after several years of being on my own caused me to consider the question, why should anyone hire me. Part of the answer is that I have a set of excellent skills and talents, and that I’m collaborative and focus on relationships. Other fine folks have these attributes too, so the specific question is “why am I different from other qualified folks.” I think that employers, like shoppers, look often look for the unique person that isn’t just like the rest. They look for the basics but want diversity of thought on the team, and perhaps they want the satisfaction of discovering someone or something that no one else has. That means the employer wants to find some unique folks. (This also sits comfortably with me because I’ve never been a square-peg type of person.)
So the question is really “what’s unique about me.” To answer the question, I’ve assembled a list that feels complete in a MECE way.
- I think about how technical solutions enable business to achieve goals on either the top or the bottom line. This leads to helping business leadership select from alternatives and understand the compromises for things like growth and flexibility.
- I think about the “why” and “how” a business delivers value to customers. This leads to things like uncovering hidden requirements of a CIO client in a multi-party services arrangement, and finding unserved markets for a new product. This also lets me help technical teams understand the business needs behind requirements and stories.
- I’m a voracious learner of technology and project management, and I’m a self-starter. This leads to things like paying for my own certifications in Agile Scrum and Product owner, and teaching myself Linux and digital networking.
- I dig into the details of regulations so I can understand both the rules and the gray areas. This (and having a Law Degree) helps me do things like find product enhancements that won’t trip us on FDA regulations, and help delivery teams understand what’s “really in the contract.”
- I’m comfortable with incompatibilities and ambiguity. I’m good at problem solving by deduction, but also good at inference, synthesis, and considering complex systems with multiple causes and effects.