Career Tips

“But, I’m Just A….” (Why You NEED an answer for “Why should I hire you?”)

By Karen J. Reiff, MCC, ACRW, JCTC (Guest Blogger)

I’ve been working with many unemployed professionals who have lost their positions when their large law firm closed. To a person, no one seems to feel they have any skills, accomplishments, or any other noteworthy “why should I hire you?” information. I hear over and over again, “well, I’m just a (paralegal, legal secretary, lawyer, accountant).” When I press the issue, I get a whole lot of……NOTHING. I am always incredulous, though, because when I start quizzing them about what, where, how, why, when, how much, and how many, most of them wake up and start revealing a little more. Usually, though, unconvincingly.This is not an unusual phenomenon with many clients. I think, if someone like me can see the greatness in their work, why can’t they? Perhaps it’s because I’m a “glass is half full” kind of counselor/coach, which is why it’s probably a good think I’m in this profession.

Years ago, in a class with soon-to-be-laid-off teachers, each and every teacher told me, “I’m just a teacher.” WHAT? If we dissect what a typical teacher does each day, we find that there are a multitude of great skills. Time and classroom management, stand-up presentation skills, writing, reading, facilitating, scoring, pairing, decision-making, organization, intuition, problem-solving, and the list goes on.

So, a while back, I started trying to understand WHY this situation is so rampant among the unemployed. Could it be depression, anxiety, shame, low self-worth? Perhaps, although my theory is simple this: most people don’t think about their talents in a job-setting. They assume they’re doing a good job, (after all, they got hired, right?) so they are simply going about their business every day, every month, every year. Unless someone gets an award or is recognized for something, most people just carry on. This is problematic, though, because then people are unprepared for the unexpected.

A key career management skill (which really means you’re always preparing for your next job) is to take stock of what you do, for example, how well you do it, how many people you work with, how much money you’ve helped the company save, in what situations you’ve problem-solved and the result, etc. Being able to quantify your accomplishments, your results- and clearly identify specific skills you have which make you employable is going to greatly enhance your chances of success in the future, no matter what the situation.

About Karen J. Reiff, MCC, ACRW, JCTC

Any form of career communication should reflect the very best YOU.  As a strategist, Karen specializes in crafting your unique career story— whether the format is resume, cover letter, personal brand statement, LinkedIn profile, career biography, interview talking points, or more.She also specializes in coaching you to be completely confident, whether it’s interviewing, negotiating, preparing for a “meet-and-greet, or how to express your unique value in a sentence or two.

Credentials include:

 Academy Certified Resume Writer (ACRW) | Master Career Counselor (MCC)

Certified Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC)  | Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF)

Licensed Professional (Career) Counselor (LPC) | Published author and blogger

Karen takes the time to uncover your strengths, personality, accomplishments and goals, and transform them into tools for your career management toolkit. She provide products/services designed to help you get the interview, get found on LI, easily communicate in interviews, andhelp you clarify your personal brand and unique value to recruiters and employers.

Karen offers a wide range of services for all motivated job seekers at any stage in their career: newly graduated, mid-career transition, returning to work, or career change. Having been a highly successful career management coach and strategist for over 20 years, people know Karen as inspirational, high energy, and creative. She likes to think of herself as the great connector-of-your-dots, with the ability to translate your thoughts and words with impact and results for you. 

Karen received her Bachelor of Science degree from Western Michigan University, and her Master’s Degree from Michigan State University.She is an international consultant, and avid runner, bicyclist, cross-country skier, and fitness junkie. 

Karen—The resume strategist—can be reached @ Karen@theresumestrategist.comor

(The opinions and views expressed throughout this blog are of the writer(s), and may not be the official views and opinions of Michigan State University.)

This blog post was originally featured at and has been used by permission by the author.


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