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It’s a fact. Business people try to solve business problems. Whether it is expansion into new markets, improving customer satisfaction, or restructuring a financial picture…it is all about solving problems. If you want your next role, you need to approach it with that in mind.

You may have many skills and interests that you bring to the hiring/promotion table, but unless you can resolve issues that are of concern to the business, you may not move forward towards your goal of a promotion or new job. Staffing decisions are based on whether or not the candidate is the right person to obtain the business objectives. It is not about what the candidate enjoys or claims to be good at.

Most people approach their search thinking they need to “pitch” what their skills and talk about what they are passionate about. If you are like most people, you need to turn your approach on its head. Instead of starting a networking meeting talking about yourself and what you enjoy, begin by asking questions. Uncover their problems and present yourself as the solution. If you approach it this way, you will hit the bulls-eye every time.

So, how do you know what the problems are? Follow these four steps to uncover what is of importance to the business:

  1. Get meetings with decision makers.
  2. Begin by asking questions to determine their priorities, challenges and opportunities.
  3. Now you can talk about your capabilities that position you as the person able to help solve those issues. You will know which capabilities to talk about based on the needs they just stated.
  4. Share ideas or accomplishments where you faced similar situations as proof points of your capabilities.

In managing a successful career, the key is not to look for roles, but to look for problems. When you present yourself as the solution to their problems, you will find yourself in the front running for a new job or a great promotion.