Forget Skills - Prove You're a Problem Solver to Stand Out
You may have a laundry list of impressive skills and credentials. But simply stating these does little to convey your true value to potential employers, partners, or clients. Why? Because raw skills alone don’t communicate how you can improve outcomes.
Rather than reciting expertise, the most compelling way to showcase your worth is through proven problem solving ability. This demonstrates you can produce real results using your skills.
In this post, we’ll explore how to present your skills by focusing on problems you’ve solved. We’ll also discuss highlighting resourcefulness and continuous learning, which enable effective problem solving.
Shift Focus to Problems Solved
Listing capabilities on your resume or in interviews is expected, but forgettable. Instead, tell engaging stories of how you leveraged your skills to drive tangible solutions.
For example, rather than merely stating you know HTML, share how you used web development skills to overhaul a client’s site interface, driving a 20% increase in traffic and online sales.
Specific examples like this illustrate you know how to apply expertise to move key metrics and performance indicators in the right direction. This proof is far more convincing than stating the skills alone.
Illustrate Varied Problem Solving
Certain abilities like creativity and analytical thinking enable problem solving across virtually any role or industry. Tying your experience back to these versatile skills makes your value universally relatable.
For instance, highlight how strong problem solving and critical thinking skills developed through an engineering degree help you rapidly understand and address client pain points in your business development role. This draws a straight line between your background and ability to solve problems in different contexts.
Varied examples demonstrating adaptability also show you’re capable of tackling whatever challenges arise on the job without getting stumped. This is highly desirable to employers and partners.
Admit When You Don’t Have Immediate Answers
The most impressive problem solvers know when they don’t know. Don’t be afraid to share examples of hitting roadblocks where you lacked knowledge or experience to determine an immediate solution.
Highlight how you responded by actively researching to expand your understanding of the problem space and potential options. Share the steps you took to gather insights, upskill where required, and eventually formulate an effective solution.
This illustrates resourcefulness and perseverance. It shows that you don’t freeze up when presented with unfamiliar challenges. The ability to learn and evolve is far more valuable than having every answer memorized upfront.
Quantify Your Impact
Back up claims of problem solving skills with measurable results. Be specific highlighting metrics and KPIs you positively influenced.
Rather than vaguely stating you “helped improve sales,” share that “by optimizing the sales script and objection handling process, I increased deal conversion rates by 35% in 6 months.” Quantifiable examples are infinitely more convincing.
Remember - you solved a problem to drive what result? Tie it back to moving metrics in the right direction. This clearly conveys your value in action.
Adjust Your Approach for Different Audiences
While problem solving ability is universally valued, tailor how you present it based on your audience.
For potential employers, focus on how you solved work-related challenges in past roles. When pitching clients, spotlight how you can solve their particular pain points with proven examples.
And for partners or investors, illustrate how cross-functional problem solving skills and resourcefulness will enable you to work through issues and drive mutual success. Fine tune for each audience.
At the end of the day, skills are merely tools. Showcase how you’ve used your tools to build something meaningful by highlighting problems solved, not just capabilities listed. This simple shift can exponentially strengthen how you articulate and demonstrate value.
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14th September 2023