Do the Work Before the Interview: Sending Tailored Samples gets you hired


The good news is… Your ideal position at a prestigious organization is open. But wait, a sudden reality check hits you that there will undoubtedly be dozens of applicants for the same position with comparable credentials and possibly more experience. So, with this in mind, how can you distinguish yourself and get a job interview? Easy. By showcasing your innovative ideas that could benefit your potential employer. Making a value validation project (VVP) is one way to achieve this.Continue reading if you want to set yourself apart from the plethora of job seekers who are bombarding employers with resumes and cover letters.

When looking for a job, you should:

  1. Stand out from the competition. Hiring managers and recruiters are tired of the “Sea of Sameness” that job applicants often exhibit. They are interested in learning what distinguishes YOU from the other applicants.
  2. Demonstrate how you can add value — What matters to them is how you can help them and how you can add value. They have specific issues they want to address, opportunities they want to seize, and outcomes they want to produce. They’re trying to find somebody who can assist them with these.
  3. Show off how much fun it would be to work with you. Hiring managers are also considering how great it would be to have you on their team and as a direct report.

Showing off your value proposition before, during, or after the interview is one of the best ways to accomplish all three objectives.

What is a value validation project?

Instead of just getting better at telling hiring managers you’d be a great asset, how can you show them the value you’d bring to the table as a worker? Put yourself in the position of a hiring manager to accomplish this.What are they thinking about in general and in particular? Generally speaking, they are considering the issues they are responsible for resolving, the revenue they need to produce, and the opportunities they are paid to find and then seize.

So what do they require?

They require high-caliber personnel to assist them in achieving their objectives, and they require staff members who take the initiative to ask, “How can I help you?” and “How can I provide value?” Additionally, they are impressed by staff members who approach their work with the mindset of a self-employed consultant and view their superiors as valuable clients who must be satisfied in order for them to remain clients.

What do they not want?

They don’t want to devote all of their time to reading through resumes and conducting interviews.Moreover, they don’t want to hire the wrong person.

How does this affect you?

It means you can set yourself apart from other job candidates by demonstrating how you are the answer to their problems and someone who will be totally committed to assisting them in succeeding.Instead of relying solely on persuasion, you can accomplish this by way of demonstration.For this, Austin Belcak has a fantastic phrase.This is what he refers to as your “Value Validation Project” (VVP).Your value validation project shows a prospective employer how you would contribute if hired. Additionally, it gives them a sneak peek into the kind of worker you would be.

What are examples of a Value Validation Project?

VVPs can take many different forms, such as:

  • Surveying a cross-section of the business’s clients and presenting the results in a slideshow
  • or reworking an app’s user interface to make it quicker and clearer.

Your VVP, therefore, gives a potential employer a sneak preview of what you would bring to the tableIt’s much like a trailer builds anticipation for a movie that will be released.

What’s the point of a Value Validation Project?

You might be perplexed as to why you would need a VVP in addition to the tried-and-true techniques of resumes and cover letters. After all, no one has asked you to do this additional work. But consider it this way:Actually, it’s a relatively small investment. The key to a lucrative, long-term career may be just a few hours of unpaid work.You’re demonstrating to the business the benefits of investing in you. This is vital as many hiring managers are naturally risk-averse and conscious of the high costs associated with a poor hire. Subsequently, a compelling VVP increases the manager’s faith in your ability to fulfill the promises made in your resume.Some people might be unclear as to how a VVP differs from an interview task, well:

  • The latter is a practical task that a hiring manager assigns in addition to a traditional interview to find out more about a candidate’s abilities and work ethic and assess how well they match the job specifications
  • A VVP, on the other hand, is your entire effort from conception to delivery, including all necessary research and content.

Attempt to picture the hiring procedure as a “job audition.”

Vince Thompson, founder, chairman, and CEO of MELT, a U.S. sports marketing and branding agency, recently advised job-seekers to approach the application process as an “audition” in order to increase their chances of being hired in a podcast interview with Virginia Franco on Resume Storyteller.Instead of just talking about what you would do, you have the opportunity to show what you can accomplish while working.He recounts the tale of a young man who got in touch with Vince during the interview. As a result of COVID, he was fired from his position selling tickets for an Atlanta-based professional sports team.Instead of just sharing his experiences, he explained how Vince’s company could benefit from the strategies he used to sell tickets during the pandemic.Vince told his team he liked the way the kid thinks as he demonstrated that he’s got a lot of ideas and isn’t afraid to try new things. The rest is history!

How to create a killer VVP

Now that you are aware of the benefits of using a VVP as a secret weapon for job hunting, how can you go about creating one? The key steps are listed below.

Display your findings

Determine the most captivating presentation strategy for your project. The most effective format is typically a slide deck, though if you’re applying for a creative position, a brief video or an appealing website might also be acceptable. Be succinct, or the recruiter will lose interest because you need to persuade them right away that you’re the ideal candidate for the position.

Identify your areas of strength.

Make a list of issues you could assist in resolving or opportunities you could help seize based on what you learn from your research, and then pick the one that best showcases your unique skills that could be utilized in the position you’re after.Let’s say you are aware of the company’s expansion plans. If you’re applying for a marketing position, research the competition and offer some ideas for how the business might increase its visibility. If you want to work in sales, create customized pitches for the new target market.

Do your homework on the potential employer.

Choose problems, issues, and fresh initiatives to center your project on. Possible sources include:

  • The business’s website. An abundance of information is available on the website’s newsroom page. Study the company’s business strategy and any upcoming projects, such as market expansion or sustainability initiatives.
  • Publication of financial information and earnings calls. Industry analysts can offer helpful insights into the most important challenges and opportunities for the organization if you’re applying to a publicly traded company.
  • Customers’ candid feedback will assist you in identifying common user problems.
  • Current staff members. Nowadays, a lot of workers use social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to network and interact with their coworkers. Look for hints about the company’s current difficulties and any upcoming new initiatives from people talking about the target company there.

Four suggestions for creating a VVP that will land you a job

When creating your VVP, keep the following in mind:

Don’t try to fix every issue the business has.

Don’t present a business plan or an all-encompassing strategy because you are a candidate, not a consultant. It is preferable to focus on one particular problem and outline your proposed solution. You’ve succeeded in getting an interview if you make the hiring manager want to hear more.

Know what will be valuable to your target company.

Where your research comes in is at this point. Keep in mind that you should create content that is truly valuable to the business rather than a fix for a non-existent issue.

Test out your ideas.

Consult as many friends and contacts as you can, both inside and outside of your field of expertise. The best recommendations occasionally come from experts outside your field.

Build your project using the job description as a guide.

To demonstrate that you comprehend the requirements of the position, use keywords from the job description. Use the phrase “expand digital channels” rather than the more general phrase “increase digital engagement,” for instance, if the company wants to do so.


Value validation projects are a great way to stand out to hiring managers and recruiters, who can grow weary of reading strong but repetitively worded resumes and cover letters. It will take time and effort to develop a VVP, but the reward could be getting the job you’ve been dreaming of.