Sometimes all it takes is one act of confidence to change your career for the better. Nexxt’s Adam Berkowitz did just that when he decided to think outside the resume box. Here’s his story…
Ten years and two weeks ago, a new position was created at Nexxt, which was invented and filled by yours truly. The primary tool used to accomplish this? It wasn’t a resume or cover letter. It was an email with the subject line:
JOB PROPOSAL MEMO
The Job Proposal Memo is simply a brainstorm I had… A document which helped solidify my candidacy and create a new position at a young, growing company.
Here’s the gist.
The Job Proposal Memo is a summary of what a candidate will accomplish in the first 30-60-90 days in a given role at a company. It is similar to a cover letter, but focuses more on what you can and will accomplish in this position. I began mine with a summary of my plans and goals for the job after the first 30, 60, and 90 day of employment. I articulated at each stage how I was going to accomplish these plans and goals. And, my final paragraph summarized my desire to meet and discuss the position and answer any questions that my prospective employer might have about the memo. I had already done a ton of research on the company, and I knew it might have a need for my skills, but it just hadn’t posted the actual job. Clairvoyant? Maybe a little.
It turned out that my Memo was extremely well received and helped the CEO visualize the role and how I was the perfect fit. The Memo demonstrated that I was thinking not about myself, but about how I could use my skills and experience to impact and achieve company objectives. More often than not, taking a proactive and creative approach will gain the ear, respect, and admiration of company decision makers. Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve been with the company over 10 years, and have countless examples of successful contributions during my tenure here. All for a job that didn’t exist (on paper, anyway) when I got it.
In your own career, are you staying “in the box” when thinking about new opportunities? Are you counting yourself out of positions because the job description isn’t a perfect match, even though you know you could be successful? Are you holding off on applying to your dream company because they haven’t posted a position that matches your skill set?
Here’s a crazy thought – what if you could submit your own Job Proposal Memo? (Hint: You can!)
Seriously, though, I did nothing more than bridge the communications gap. You know, that gap that exists when you think you’re qualified to do a job, but can’t be sure because the job description is too specific about the qualifications or too vague about what the job entails.
Maybe part of the problem is how we as job seekers are communicating. In a lot of ways, the resume has become a “necessary evil” within the hiring process. There have been volumes written by HR professionals about how to improve and enhance the resume. Many hiring managers and recruitment professionals have come to realize its significant shortcomings — and perhaps fatal flaws — as a tool for hiring and projecting superior performance. After all, a resume gives hiring managers a rear-view mirror look at your performance and accomplishments, but it doesn’t tell them what you can do for them now and in the future.
The traditional resume probably isn’t going away anytime soon, and maybe you don’t want to risk getting eliminated from consideration because you submitted a Job Proposal Memo instead of the resume and cover letter the hiring manager was expecting. In that case, why not include a Job Proposal Memo along with your resume, or offer to prepare one after you’ve secured an initial interview?
Whether it’s a Job Proposal Memo or something else, don’t let fear stop you from doing the very thing that may separate you from the pack in pursuit of your dream job. Challenge yourself to think more about what exactly you have to offer a prospective employer and how you can convey to them that you’d be an ideal fit for their position – whether it exists yet or not.