What differentiates you in the job market? What makes you special? A job seeker’s unique selling proposition is the key to standing out from the competition.
Once you clarify what those key points are, you’ll have a powerful tool for success in your job interviews, your resume, your LinkedIn profile – in all of your job search communications.
Do some thinking.
The following 10 questions will help you figure out this crucial piece of career intelligence.
- What qualifications or skills do I have that are hard to find?
- What do I do better than most of my peers?
- What would my co-workers and managers say if I asked them what makes me valuable?
- Am I the best at something, or the first, or the only one?
- Is there an important area in which I am exceptionally knowledgeable?
- What part of my job am I most passionate about? Am I especially good at that?
- Do I have an exceptional record of promotions or career growth?
- What is my most impressive professional accomplishment of the past five years?
- Do have more education, training or certifications than is usual?
- Have I won awards or been formally recognized for superior work?
Write down your answers. You now have a list of skills, strengths and qualifications. This is career gold! But it’s raw ore – you can’t take it to the bank yet!
Boil it all down to your top selling points for the job.
You need to identify the top five or fewer points that are most likely to make you stand out as the right person to hire. Less is more!
How do you know which of your selling points are the most compelling and convincing? They’re the ones that are most Relevant, Exceptional and Verifiable (REV). Let me clarify that.
Relevant: Which is more relevant, that you specialize in exactly what the employer is looking for, or that you have a broad background? As a job search coach, I constantly have clients tell me their broad background is one of their best selling points. But how often have you seen “broad background” among the qualifications in a job posting? Specialization is usually much more relevant.
Exceptional: If the posting states that a master’s degree is required, the fact that you have one isn’t exceptional. Probably all of the candidates will have master’s degrees. If you have a PhD, that might be exceptional.
Verifiable: By “verifiable,” I simply mean that you can offer some kind of evidence to convince the employer that a statement you’re making isn’t just your own opinion. Facts like a certification or having held a certain position are easily verifiable. Soft skills are tougher. How does the interviewer know you have great time management skills? You’ll need to offer some form of evidence, like a story about how you succeeded in a full-time job while taking 16 units in college.
Which of your selling points really REV by being Relevant, Exceptional and Verifiable? Those are the ones to emphasize.
A job seeker’s unique selling proposition is the starting point for success. For step-by-step help figuring out yours, read chapter one of my book, Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview. Get that chapter free by subscribing to this blog and downloading the report, How to Stand Out in Your Interviews (Chapter 1 of Get That Job). It’s a free tool to help you get a great job sooner. (This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated for the 2020s.)