Part 2 of 8 in the “Unemployed? Be Your Own Recruiter” Series –
Let’s start with a quick, one sentence recap from the last article in the series: “If you’re unemployed; it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to take the lead & market (aka: sell) yourself.” That’s the recap… now that we’re caught up, let me say that you don’t have to do it alone; but you should think of yourself as the “Program Manager” for this program of finding a new job. Every aspect should be run by you: Product (you, your resume), Finance (the #s: what you make/need to/want to), Target Market (companies you’re going to be sent to/apply with), and how you’ll be Marketed. Which starts with your Value Proposition.
When you’re engaged in an active job search; it’s important to show potential employers why they should hire you. Of course, one could easily argue that part of success in life – period – is understanding your own personal value & being able to share it. The first step to sharing it is to create what’s called a “Personal Value Proposition” or PVP. Essentially, your PVP is the foundation of your Personal Brand Story – it communicates what others find valuable in you. (1) So, in order to create a successful PVP; you have to be specific & clear on the value you have to offer.
- Step One: Think about positive remarks that have been made about you from co-workers & supervisors throughout your career. Do some free association and write them down on a piece of paper. Now, I’m not talking about “She’s nice” or “He’s funny” – those on their own don’t do it; but can be translated into slightly more useful phrases like “culture champion” or “strong abilities to form/gel cohesive teams,” etc. Think back to reviews, edification that’s been given in your presence in meetings, etc. Authentic professional praise often stems from successfully filling the gap of a business need. Use that.
- Step 2: Answer these questions:
1. What job roles have you filled for current/past employers & what was the business value of those roles? Example: TxMQ, the company I work for, primarily focuses on Technology positions. So, if we’re working on a marketing plan for a candidate who is an Architect; we might highlight the business value of being able to cohere the needs of the Business Units with the capabilities of the Technology department. In Accounting, it might be building relationships w/ Clients while collecting receivables to shorten the revenue collection cycle. Write that down.
2. What significant accomplishments did you achieve in those roles? How do/did you compare to your Counterparts in similar positions?? Your value proposition will not be found in your job description – it’s found in how you performed within it. Example: It’s not enough to be/have been ‘an Executive Leader’ – you need to be an executive that did one/several of 5 things: increased revenue, decreased costs, shortened cycle times, brought innovation, and/or bettered people. (2) Think in specific, quantifiable terms – businesses love facts & numbers – not subjective thoughts or feelings. Think about special projects or latitude you were entrusted with that backs up business faith in you – how’d it turn out? What recognition(s) were you given, if any, at reviews or Company gatherings? Write that down.
Step 3: How do others describe you? Remember, this isn’t about what you think about yourself; but rather, everyone else. Choose 10-20 people whom you respect and ask them to professionally describe you in one sentence. What do they say about you? Write the answers down (don’t paraphrase or edit) & then go back and look for the common themes by taking repeated statements/words/phrases and turning them into categories. Example: In my own feedback process, I heard several versions of “you’re good with people,” you excel at building communities,” “you’re a good marketeer,” “you’re great with social networking,” “you’re fun,””you’re the girl who gets it done,” and “you really get business HR.” So, I turned those into the following categories: “Relationship-Builder,” “Community Manager,” “Business Minded” and “Results Oriented.” With each feedback statement I went through, they were sorted into one of those categories. Do that with yours and write it down.
- Step 4: Go back to the people you talked to and ask them to validate the authenticity of the categories you came up with. Those provide the theme(s) of your PVP; so it’s important that it be accurate & an authentic reflection of who you are from a value perspective. If they’re genuine; then you won’t have to try to sellconcepts that aren’t easily backed up through your experience/who you are! Have them provide feedback (ask Why the answered how they did) and even rank the list in order of their perception of your overall strengths/weaknesses. (3) Incorporate their feedback & make adjustments to your categories as needed. Finalize & write down.
- Step 5: What is your target market looking for? When you did your research on each of those companies (looked at job descriptions, read news articles, talked to people in each of those companies) – what business needs did you find? If you don’t know that, what were the companies that employed you in the past trying to accomplish that might have similar objectives to who you’re looking to join? Write those down.
- Step 6: Pull it together. Now, take your categories and pair them with the roles & accomplishments you wrote down earlier; matching them to the business needs you found in step 4. Keep this Target-Market oriented, and two-sentences in length. Here’s a template for creating those sentences:
Sentence 1: ___ (Insert Highest Ranked Category paired w/ correlating role/business function) who (Statement of capability for Target Market’s Need for Opportunity & Category that shows how you do it); ___ (Insert Your Name) is ___ (Insert Descriptive Category paired w/ Your Title/Career Level) that ___ (insert active benefit statement from other categories).
Sentence 2: ___ (Insert differentiation statement – start with second highest ranked accomplishment/recognition that sets you apart from competition) , ___(insert gender his/her) experience in ___ (insert Industry/Function/Specialized sub-set area) provides (Primary Differentiation statement – highest ranked accomplishment/recognition) that ____ (insert how it solves a business need of your target market) through ____ (insert categories that show how you’d do it).
- Step 7: Look at your statement – does it read authentically to who you are & what you can do? Go back to the people you’ve talked to and ask them to validate your completed value proposition. Remember to ask “Why?” when they offer feedback – positive or negative – to really understand your results. Make adjustments as needed and finalize. Now you have your Personal Value Proposition & are ready to move to the next step in your Job Search.
In Part 3, we’ll look at Marketing Materials to use in your job search.
(1) Not what you think is valuable about yourself – common misconception and what can make writing these effectively slightly more challenging. If you don’t know what others think of you, ask 10 people you’ve worked with in the past to give you an honest assessment of the value you brought – what did they think of you professionally? Write that down.
(2) as evidenced by decreased turnover, increased promotions, increased reporting in positive workforce metrics
(3) Mine Looked Like: “Relationship-Builder,” 1 “Community Manager,” 4 “Business Minded” 2 and “Results Oriented.” 3 (btw, it’s not always easy to get a ranking for similar themes – don’t panic if what you thought was your best strength is ranked lower than you perception – it could be .001 away from the 1st category – but you shouldn’t have ‘ties’ on this!)