Dec 21, 2012

The Power of Your Unique Selling Proposition - Show the Hiring Manager What Sets You Apart

Why should a company hire you?

How are you different from, and more valuable than, the competition?

You'll gain an advantage if you think of yourself as a product and your search as a marketing campaign designed to move that product.

Every product has a unique selling proposition (USP). For a product to break through the clutter and succeed, it's crucial that the company correctly identify a compelling USP, match it to the market, and communicate that message effectively.

Identifying the USP pretty much boils down to this: what kind of problem does the product solve? What makes it unique? Why is it better than the next product on the shelf?

As a job seeker, you're no different. You have a unique value proposition, too. Have you identified it? If you don't know what distinguishes you from the scores of other candidates who might be vying for the same job, the hiring manager isn't going to know, either.

Whether or not marketing has anything to do with your "day job," you need to think like a marketer.

You must figure out how to differentiate yourself from everybody else. You've got to put your finger on what's unique about you - and connect it to the needs of the hiring company.

After you've distilled your unique benefit into a concise statement of a sentence or two, you need to position it. Positioning is the basis for all your communications. Be consistent with your messaging. Articulate your unique value in your cover letter, in your resume, and during each interview. Reinforce it in your thank you letters.

Bear in mind, the statement of your unique benefit may subtly change depending on the prospective employer. Why? Because, like any company, you need to match the message to the market - in this case, the market is the specific company you're pursuing.

So - before you submit your resume the next time, here's what you should be thinking: what problem is Company ABC trying to solve with this hire? What are their needs? (If you don't know the answer, do more research.)

How are you a solution to the problem? What kind of tangible value do you offer?

What differentiates you from other candidates they may be considering?

Develop a compelling USP, then position yourself effectively, and you'll get the attention you deserve. Show the hiring manager what sets you apart, and how they'll benefit by bringing you into the organization.

Rebecca Metschke helps professionals improve their marketability. The author of The Interview Edge ([]), a comprehensive career guide to career management, she also writes a daily blog posting strategies, tips and advice for thsoe whose careers are in transition.


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