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Discover Your Winning Value Proposition

Alan Andersen

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I have never been accused of giving up when striving toward an objective. Yet, the older or should I say, more mature I get, I understand that winning is only as valuable as the people that you empower in the process!

How beneficial would it be if we all understood what "winning" really looked like. Thankfully, today we can learn how to uncover our "Winning Value Proposition". 

Let's follow Daniel Hallak's lead and learn to win well!

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

How to Discover Your Winning Value Proposition

Value beats experience and credentials. Most job seekers are selling the equivalent of vanilla ice cream to the job market. Vanilla ice cream tastes great but in a crowded market with custom flavors, it needs more to stand out and catch a customer’s attention. For example, my young children love rainbow sherbet, and bubblegum flavored ice cream, candy-like flavors with colorful synthetic dyes. My parents tend to have a more refined palette and they enjoy flavors with nuts inside. Each flavor is designed with the right audience in mind. Discovering and defining the value that you bring to an organization is just like selling cotton-candy ice cream to kindergartners—a perfect alignment of product and consumer desires. This is similar to what makes a laser-focused value proposition one of the most powerful ways to put you in front of the competition in your job market.

1) Start by focussing on a target. Pick a few similar job titles or by zero in on an or industry. Assess your strengths, values, personality, and skills. You’ve probably got a target in mind already. Don’t be too broad or too specific with your target. Find a Goldilocks focus that’s just right.

2) Do some career research so that you can learn the needs, challenges, and opportunities that Research industry publications. Talk to 4-5 people to where the industry is going. If you’re targeting a specific organization, figure out what is happening internally and where the business is heading strategically.

3) Craft your value proposition in 3-8 bullet points. Answer these questions:

  • What do I bring to the table that is unique?
  • What key issues can I solve?
  • What do I bring beyond experience and credentials?

Be careful selling your experience and credentials. Lots of people tout impressive backgrounds but don’t connect the dots to the value that they bring to the most important challenges an organization is solving. Be sure to take the extra step to highlight how your background and prove how it helps you solve the problems your future employer is looking to tackle. Unless you clearly articulate value, nothing you promote means anything.

Here’s a personal example of what it looks like to identify key business needs and how to articulate a relevant value proposition that overlaps with it. For several years I led career services for graduate business students. Here are some of the core needs that my target organizations were wrestling with

Career Services—Needs and Challenges
Career service professionals solve problems for individuals related to vocational choices and employment as well as help increase student retention and student success for the institution. The problems that a candidate will be hired to help solve are:

  • Increasing the number of traditional students who engage with the career center
  • Increasing the reputation of career services among faculty and staff
  • Increasing the number of companies that recruit on campus
  • Increasing the number of students who obtain jobs and internships
  • Increasing the level of professionalism among the student body
  • Increasing the satisfaction levels of students, and employers with campus career services
  • Scaling career services while simultaneously preserving service quality
  • Guiding career exploration and decision-making challenges of clientele
  • Guiding employment and personal marketing challenges of clientele
  • Increasing student retention and student success rates

Based on these needs, I was able to see where my unique skillset overlapped. Here’s an example of the selling points I’d communicate to an employer in my résumé, online profiles, and interviews:

My Career Services Value Proposition

  • Understanding of the business model and current trends in career services as well as creative ideas to enhance career services and transform it from an institutional cost to a benefit
  • Ability to scale career services with limited or diminishing resources
  • Capable of increasing career service usage by effective marketing to students
  • Increased student hires through effective and assertive employer outreach and engagement
  • Versatility to perform all career service functions at a top-shelf level with any demographic, especially students and young professionals

Discovering and defining your value is hard work. Most people struggle with this but it’s the foundation of a successful job search that sets you up for success once you’ve landed. Take the time to get this right or get some help to guide you along.

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