Your Job Search Value Proposition_ How to Find Out What Makes You a Valuable Hire (1)

“Know your value and ask for what you’re worth,” is sound job advice you’ve heard repeatedly. “That’s great, everybody,” you think, but the reality is that recognizing your particular set of special qualities and skills is difficult.

While your prior roles and interests will help guide you, honing in on the specifics is like trying to pull Excalibur out of stone. The key to wielding your Excalibur is the job search value proposition, which zeroes in on the specific value your candidacy brings to the table — and you won’t feel like a zero with a wooden sword defending yourself against an army of interviewers with very sharp, clicky red pens.

Think of the job search value proposition as your strategy to break enemy lines and win the position, lifting you up from the competition and making your worth an inarguable and undeniable point. Ready to do this thing? It’s time to make some magic:

1. Do You Meet the Expectations?

Before you show that you exceed expectations, you must make sure you meet the ones outlined in the job description. Go over each detail in the job description with a fine-tooth comb to discern what they’d like to see in an ideal candidate.

What job tasks are required of this position? Are there any competencies and strengths necessary to satisfy the role? What qualities or qualifications are listed under the “preferred” section?

You’re used to fine-tuning your cover letter and resume according to the job description, making sure you’ve listed the correct names and updated your address, for example. You’ll also be doing the same tweaking to your job search value proposition. When applying to a company, research it thoroughly, and do this for each role you pursue. Look into their mission statement and ask yourself: How do my skills contribute value to this company’s mission?

When you know what is expected of candidates and more about the company, you’re more prepared to create a value proposition that does more than tout your achievements and skills — you’ll create something that clearly shows your value and relevancy.

2. Write It Down

Going over all of the job details has your brain on overload with processing. It’s time to write it down on paper. On a sheet of paper, make notes of any transferable or direct aptitude, experience or skills that qualify you for the role and dress up your application to impress.

It’s difficult to analyze yourself from that perspective. It feels like you’re putting yourself in the hot seat, and most people are their own worst critics. Confidence wanes during a long hiring process, and you keep up the courage by doing your research and being kind yourself. Try these questions as prompts to help you hone in on your special qualifications:

  • What skills have you received compliments, praise or positive feedback on while at work?
  • Which projects have you excelled at or played a pivotal role in? What skills were required that helped you succeed in these projects?
  • In past performance reviews, what adjectives were used to describe you?

These questions will help you look at yourself as a professional objectively to list your most relevant and impressive characteristics. Use these details in your interviews, resume and cover letter.

3. Drive Home the Benefits

In sales, you do your best to address why a product solves a customer’s needs, and when applying for a role, you do the same with the hiring manager and interviewers — drive home the benefits.

How do your unique set experiences and skills directly benefit the employer? You can tell them what your strengths are all day, but you need to communicate specific past examples and outline how those skills will contribute to the success of the company. That’s the value of the proposition — hence, the job search value proposition.

Instead of touting that you’re a social media whiz, show — don’t tell. Show the results of your marketing campaigns and explain what happened when you encountered challenges, outlining how you succeeded. By highlighting the benefits and positive outcomes of your skillset, you’ll set yourself apart from the competition and impress the employer, while everyone else rambles on.

Considering your particular characteristics and skills that make you a valuable contributor to a company is difficult. It’s hard to look at yourself as a professional objectively, and that’s what makes writing a cover letter and resume challenging every time. Following these three guidelines will help you stand out as a relevant and solid candidate — because what you’re taking for granted about yourself is probably what the company needs most.

The job search value proposition fills the gap and makes the intangible tangible. You become more confident and articulate about the value you bring to the table, pulling Excalibur out of the stone with success.

Got your notepad ready? Pull up the job description and get started. Choose one point and write in the comments below the specific value you bring to that point. For more career tips, subscribe to Punched Clocks and share the wisdom.


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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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