Having just returned from “The World’s Greatest Marketing Seminar” I am full of ideas about how job seekers can better position themselves.

A key message from many speakers is that marketers are in the business of solving people’s problems. People (and people run businesses and hire other people) are usually familiar with and able to articulate their problems/challenges/difficulties/obstacles and so will better identify with them. When someone appears to understand their challenges, people tend to hope that person can help them solve the problem. When the problem or challenge is stated clearly and with some emotion, people become hungry for a solution. For a marketer, this creates a willing customer. For a job seeker, this can engender willingness to consider one’s candidacy for a position.

This afternoon, one of my clients (D.) and I came up with this 10 second answer to the question “What are you looking for?” Our focus is on the kind of challenge D. wants to work on. Then she presents herself as the solution to the problem. Here’s what we drafted:

I want to solve space challenges for clients with big dreams and limited resources, and make their space reflect their brand image and strategic thinking.

In a very few words, D. has defined her area of interest and expertise (solve space problems) captured a problem (clients with big dreams and limited resources), and focused attention on the solution she offers (space will reflect brand image and strategic thinking). The word “solve” at the beginning offers hope of a solution to the problem she then describes (big dreams, few resources); the final part of her statement speaks again to her solution to the problem.

D. can either then say “Let me give you an example” or the listener can ask questions to invite her to tell them more about what she means – and she has plenty to say about that.

She is testing tonight at a networking event. I’ll let you know what happens. In the meantime, I wanted you to know I’m thinking about you and ways to make your pitch that much more effective.

You can think about the problems or challenges you want to work on in your next job, the kind of solutions you would offer, and the employers who have this kind of problem. Start with what the employer faces, and then offer yourself as a solution. Remember, when a problem is fully articulated, it hurts, and when something hurts, people want a remedy. By showing that you “feel their pain,” you make employers more interested in hearing how you would approach solving the problem and easing the pain.