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Why versus What: The Power of Reposition

February 22nd, 2013 by cmiceli763

I recently watched a video for my advertising principles class, exploring the values of “why” and “what.” Yes- this could mean anything, and in the video it was regarding advertising and branding. The speaker set out to explain the value of a company saying “why” the consumers should believe in them, versus “what” they had to believe in. Kind of confusing, I know… but then I got to thinking. A company must connect with the consumers on a deeper level than “here’s my product, it’s great, buy it.” When have you ever bought a product because of its technological advancements...? You buy a product because the company positions it as something you need: “if you’re looking for (great quality), you need this product.” How does this relate to the career center? If this method works SO well with companies and products, then there’s a good chance it’s going to work just as well with applicants and job searches. Hear me out…

Companies like Apple connect with consumers (current and potential) in a very interesting way. There have been six iPhones since 2007, the design, concept, function all the same, yet users keep upgrading.  They don’t sell their products, they sell the idea. They entice the consumers to be a “genius,” use the products, and be happy. The consumers believe in Apple and they believe in the idea of the product.  

How can you transfer this to yourself when applying to jobs?

Your cover letter and resume sell yourself. Just like Apple sells its products. You have to make the employer believe in you. You have to tell them why you’re the perfect candidate before you can tell them what you can do. You can’t tell an employer what you have without explaining why they need it, first. Let me give you an example, in your cover letter if you state: I am a hard worker. The employer is going to think, yeah- so is everyone else that wants a job. Here’s what you should say: as a thriving company, you need an (insert job title here, intern/employee) that will work hard until each goal is met and exceeded. Another example, I am dedicated. What you should say is: the demanding environment that your company is succeeding in requires the constant and dire dedication that I possess.

Try it out, see how it goes! Your cover letter could turn from blah to brilliant with a little bit of repositioning. If you’re not clear on how to reposition yourself to sound extra fabulous, post a comment- I’d love to help! Good luck!