How to Demonstrate Your Commercial Worth in Job Applications

by Harry Freedman

There was once a time when job candidates were assessed simply on whether they were capable of doing the work, if they would fit well into the team and whether they were suited to the company's culture. Of course, those are still the immediate and most obvious criteria that companies look at. But the economic squeeze has forced many organisations to look beyond the obvious. Doing the job well is no longer enough – the question every company now wants to know the answer to is: what's your commercial worth?

Before you apply for a job, and certainly before you go to interview, you will need to think about how to demonstrate this. How will you contribute, over and above the job itself, to the company's profits?

The skills that you emphasise, and the specific things you'll do to help the company gain commercial advantage, will depend on the sort of job you are applying for. If you're applying for commercial roles, you will need to demonstrate this as a matter of course.

But you can also demonstrate your commercial worth for other, more varied vacancies. For example, if you're going for an admin role, then your ability to contribute to the bottom line may be less obvious. Nevertheless, the company may prefer a candidate who shows that they can make a commercial difference. For example, you could focus on your cost management, efficiency, process improvement or colleague-motivation skills.

As a brand ambassador for your employer, wherever you go and whatever you do, you represent your company. Just the way you talk about your employer amongst your friends can have an impact on the company's image. And positive things that you say on social media or in work-related environments can resonate widely. Talk about your networks, the people you come into contact with, your excitement at being able to represent the company.

You should demonstrate an understanding of, and enthusiasm for, what the company does. Show that you're willing to learn, to spot and pick up the tasks that nobody else is doing and treat the job as if it is an important part of your life.

So when you apply, be sure to show how your achievements can directly benefit the company. These achievements don't have to come from your working life; they could be things you did socially, at school or among your family. What you're really trying to do is to show what sort of person you are, and why you will be a financial asset to the employer.

It's probably easier to mention these achievements in your covering letter so that you have space to tailor them – and their financial implications – specifically to the company's need, which you can research.

But if you really want to appear professional, it's a good idea to write a fresh, closely-targeted CV for each job application.

Good employees have always had the company's interests at heart and seen themselves as ambassadors. They have always looked for ways to add value. The difference now is that spotting these qualities in candidates is increasingly important to companies.

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