Data Quality Practitioners: Are You Focusing on Your Benefits or Features?

Data Quality Career Tip: Don't just focus on features, you need to be selling your benefits too

Data Quality Career Tip: Don’t just focus on features, you need to be selling your benefits too

A recent survey of LinkedIn profiles belonging to data quality practitioners has thrown up some interesting insights.

By focusing solely on what you do, instead of what the client gets, practitioners may be placing themselves at a disadvantage in the job market.

In short: are you focusing on your features or your benefits?

I did this, then I did that, then I did this…

A common problem many people experience when talking about their data quality skills or service is that they forget to articulate the true value of what they’ve achieved in the past and can hopefully replicate for a prospective employer.

When we’re trying to impress a would-be client, partner or employer, the curriculum vitae (CV) is still one of the preferred tools of the trade and having recruited for data quality roles in the past I’ve witnessed my fair share of lacklustre CV’s. 

One of the main reasons is that the individuals focused on what they did (features), instead of what they actually delivered (benefits).

The Global Head of Data Quality Story

Let’s take this real life example of a Global Head of Data Quality that I witnessed on LinkedIn describing their latest role:

  1. Developed organisations capabilities concerning Data Quality by introducing tools, techniques and software solutions.
  2. Acted as chair to global data quality forum and actively supported the embedding of data quality roles and responsibilities in the business organisation.

Looks impressive? The individual clearly has broad skills but what real benefits has the person delivered? They are nowhere to be seen. Instead, the person has opted to fill their bio with fairly standard features in a hope of impressing the visitor.

I took this one stage further and reviewed scores of data quality practitioner profiles on LinkedIn. 

The result? 

People are missing a big opportunity because not one came close to explaining the benefits and true value of their skills and experience.

So What is a Data Quality Benefit?

We all know what a benefit is, right?

Well, not really because few of us are conversant with marketing and sales speak, particularly if we come from a technology background. We think benefits don’t relate to us and therefore I’ve got a little tip for winkling those benefits out of you.

A benefit is typically what the company is left with AFTER you delivered your feature set of skills and services.

A classic example:

  • The AFTER Benefit a client is really interested in:
    • A Hole
  • How we typically interpret what the client wants to hear:
    • In my last job I used the world’s most powerful drill
    • I have 10 years experience using different types of drill
    • I have completed 10 training courses on how to use various types of drill
    • I have a number of highly effective drill bits that make me an expert in using the drill

Far too often, we focus on the different features of our expertise instead of clearly articulating what the client or employer actually got AFTER we “waved our data quality wand”.

Some quick examples:

Senior Data Quality Analyst working for a manufacturer…

  • Original Bio Feature: I delivered a data quality initiative for a global pharmaceutical manufacturer.
  • New Bio Benefit: I helped a global pharma decrease their lead times by 5% resulting in a 1st year ROI of 85%, this was achieved by: (bullet-list your data quality features).

Junior Data Quality Analyst…

  • Original Bio Feature: I rolled out a data profiling/monitoring initiative for all customer-facing web forms
  • New Bio Benefit: I reduced customer-churn by an estimated 25% and increased new customer acquisition by 10%. I delivered this by (bullet-list features here)

What Should Data Quality Practitioners Do Next?

The key to a successful career is not to possess the most skills (that obviously helps!). No, the key to success is to outperform your peers searching for the same role.

You can have many years experience in all the right data quality methodologies, technologies and philosophies but if you can’t articulate your value in simple, clear terms then you’re at a major disadvantage.

Sit down and list all those activities you’ve undertaken and remember what the outcome was.

  • Faster lead times?
  • Reduced customer churn?
  • Customer satisfaction ratings?
  • Cost savings?

What did the company get for what you did? You can and should list all the industry and techno buzzwords because agents and companies search for those but to stand out from the crowd you also need to spell out exactly what hiring you means for the business.