How you approach your next career move depends largely on the way you present your unique selling points or USP. Job profiles are evolving rapidly today and multi-tasking is becoming the norm. Employers expect different value propositions from job seekers. They anticipate rare combinations of cross-functional skills and technical expertise that could add value to their companies. Which is why one of the most common interview questions that we come across today is: “Why should I hire you?”
Now that we have succeeded in making the first impression through our resume, it’s time to put forward our value additions. It is crucial to differentiate yourself from the crowd and gain a competitive edge. Whether we are applying for a new job or looking for a promotion, it all narrows down to how well we market our skills. The right approach would be to ask the following questions to ourselves:
- What are our USP’s?
- What makes us different from all our competitors or peers?
- What can we put forward on the recruiter’s table?
Let’s walk through some key perspectives that can help you develop strong and articulated answers:
What are unique selling points?
Unique selling points are your transferable skills that are likely to make a significant impact on the employer’s business. It is the best way to demonstrate to an employer why you are the ideal candidate for the role.
Employers usually look in for some fundamental skills that can help them in difficult situations. For instance, in case of a personnel administration job in a factory, a candidate requires good negotiation skills for managing trade union disputes.
If you explore your key USPs and incorporate them in your marketing strategy (cover letter, resume, interview, etc.), you will have a strong advantage over other candidates. Just like products have to be marketed to consumers, candidates have to market themselves to employers. The better you market, the higher are your chances of getting your dream job.
Which skills should we focus on?
Your personal selling points can help you narrow down your job search, complete your resume and prepare for interview questions. Some prominent unique selling points could be:
Specific skills: Here is a chance to showcase our technical expertise. We can list out the entire range of functions that we specialise in. We can also highlight some relevant courses attended in the recent past. For instance:
- A digital marketer can talk about his/her proficiency in keyword research, PPC campaigns, traffic generation, lead conversions, etc. as well as boast of his Digital Marketing Diploma.
- An IT professional should focus on the technologies and platforms he is well versed in.
- Finance experts can mention about their grip on financial database systems.
Knowledge: Employers often try and probe the candidates about their industry or market exposure. They are interested in analysing our knowledge of recent events in a particular domain.
For instance, as a social media specialist, we should be abreast of:
- Upcoming social media trends in the year ahead.
- The rise and fall of new social media tools or mobile apps.
- Strategic mutual collaborations or tie-ups in the online space.
Similarly, bloggers should focus on the latest blogging approaches or perhaps some major blogging sites that they refer to consistently.
Experience: When it comes to selecting a candidate, several recruiters are concerned about quantification of results. We fail to make the right connect, if we focus solely on our day-to-day tasks. As a job-seeker, we should let our accomplishments fix all the major gaps in our resume. If we quantify our achievements through some specific strategies or statistics, it is more likely to get noticed.
For instance, as a sales professional, it is essential that we talk about the revenue generated in a year, quarter or month followed by a tailored strategy that we pursued.
Behaviours: Some employers give a lot of weight to personality or behaviour of their employees. Your ability to handle or cope with situations or problems can benefit a company to a large extent.
For instance, we can use real-time examples to explain a problem and the ideas we delivered. Whether it is related to satisfying a difficult customer or a funding shortfall, consider using the STAR Model, which works in the following framework:
- Think about the Situation you faced.
- Task you had to complete.
- Actions you took.
- Results you achieved.
Talents: Emphasise the things you excel at. Nothing works better than projecting your talents during an interview. For instance,
- You could be an MS Excel champion and quick at computing or sorting data.
- Your technical know-how of Photoshop or Illustrator could be exceptional enough to make an outstanding infographic.
Capitalise on such assets that you possess and make your move forward.
There are various ways to interpret the above mentioned points when it comes to your USP. For instance, the ability to type at 90 words per minute can be a unique selling point. If you have a difficulty in sorting your skill sets, consult your seniors or mentors for objective insights.
What’s the benefit?
Employers don’t just buy skills, they buy solutions. They appreciate talents that can save them some money or resolve their problems. As you walk up the managerial ladder, employers look for strategic insights, problem solving and resource management skills. You don’t even have to be the most qualified or experienced candidate, but with USPs, you can demonstrate how you fit the role perfectly.
Other tips to bear in mind:
- Restructure or rephrase your sentences, while speaking or writing. Try and avoid beginning every sentence with an “I.”
- Don’t lose the essence of your candidature by stating you ‘Think’ you’re a good candidate – tell them you are.
- Make sure that you edit your resume well and cut down all the unnecessary words. A crisp statement will have a greater impact.
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