Articulating a Powerful Value Proposition

By Sharon Graham.

Over the last two decades, the term “value proposition” has gained much popularity in the corporate world:

  • Companies use it to describe the value an organization offers customers.
  • Marketers use it to summarize a core strategy for differentiating competitors.
  • Advertisers employ the term to differentiate products in specific markets.
  • Manufacturers define it as the primary benefit of a product or service.

The concept of Value Proposition* is a formalized approach to job search, derived from various established corporate and personal branding strategies. It is a marketing strategy and sales pitch, specifically related to job search.

In a job search, you must deliver a unique, consistent, and compelling message to effectively market and sell yourself to the employer. This message is your “Value Proposition.” To attain the best chances in succeeding, your Value Proposition must be delivered holistically throughout the job search process.

Employers wanting to fill positions are essentially purchasing employees. They are paying the selected candidate and they expect returns that will positively impact their bottom line. To succeed in the job search, you must show that you offer qualifications and value that match these “Buying Motivators.”

A powerful Value Proposition comprises three components:

1.  The employer’s “Buying Motivators” such as your ability to:

  • Generate revenue (increase sales, expand market share, augment profit)
  • Save money (enhance efficiency, boost productivity, improve cash flow)
  • Solve a problem (reduce errors, eliminate downtime, increase retention)

2.  Your “Supporting Qualifications” that address the Buying Motivators:

  • Areas of expertise (skills, abilities, level, stature)
  • Background (education, experience, credentials, accomplishments)

3.  Your “Added Value” – a uniquely individual image of you that also addresses the Buying Motivators:

  • Supplementary value (unique offerings)
  • Individuality (personality, style)

You must be able to articulate your unique Value Proposition clearly and consistently throughout the job search process:

  • In career marketing documents
  • When networking with potential leads
  • During the job interview

To uncover Buying Motivators ask yourself:

  • What value do you bring to your potential employer?
  • How will the employer benefit from your abilities?
  • What bottom line results can the employer expect to see?

To uncover Supporting Qualifications ask yourself:

  • What experience and credentials do you bring to the table?
  • What skills, abilities, and expertise do you offer?

To uncover Added Value ask yourself:

  • What special talents do you have that other applicants may not have?
  • How can you bring more to the job than is expected?

As your Value Proposition gains clarity and takes shape, practise responding to questions such as “Tell me about yourself.” or “Why should I hire you?”

Then, as your comfort level increases, work on more challenging traditional, behavioural, and situational interview questions. Each answer should relay appropriate information that supports your Value Proposition.

By going through this process, you will gain a strong understanding of what you have to offer. This will help you create a powerful Value Proposition. As you articulate your new Value Proposition in various scenarios, you will gain confidence in responding to interview questions.

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* Sharon Graham and the Career Professionals of Canada’s Certified Résumé Strategist (CRS) Committee first introduced the concept of “Value Proposition” as it pertains to résumé writing in 2004. Since then, Graham has further refined the approach as it relates holistically to career transition. The Value Proposition strategy is a formalized approach to job search, derived from various established corporate and personal branding strategies. It is a marketing strategy and sales pitch, specifically related to job search. Learn more through CPC’s Certification Program.

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