Posts Tagged ‘unique selling proposition’

Graduates Job Search Strategy: The Unique Selling Proposition

Good morning colleagues!

Finding a job in this economy since 2005 remains a difficult path to travel. My goal is to offer a marketing strategy to align your achievements with job requirements. Let’s see if this marketing approach and strategy might add a more successful outcome to your job search.

Many business owners struggle to see alignment between what their business needs and what skills graduates can offer because of their academic degrees and certification credentials. The goal is be very specific regarding your mastery of skills that can make a positive contribution to the business for whom you want to work. Let’s put our marketing hat on a moment to see strategies that may further a more successful outcome.

In the field of marketing, there is a concept known as the unique selling proposition. What is the unique competitive advantage a product or service has over any other product or service already within the marketplace? What is different? In other words, what separates you from the rest of the job applicants? The challenge is that since 2005, most job sites suggest that for every 1 job that is available, between 100-400 applicants apply (or more). If one assumes that at least 50% of applicants meet the minimal qualifications, how will you stand beyond the rest? What do you have that the others do not?

What skills do you have that can demonstrate RESULTS for the business owner that is unique to you? [Hence, the name—unique selling proposition.] Business owners look for RESULTS that drive profit and the bottom line. What’s in it for them—the business owner?

Let’s think more with our marketing hat as we strategically craft the resume.

1. QUANTIFY RESULTS: Remember, the resume is a strategic tool. EVERYTHING placed on this resume needs to be strategically aligned with what the needs of the business. The business owner or HR Member will be looking to see how your PROVEN skills align with THEIR current needs. Marketing is not selling. Marketing is simply brokering a deal. Both candidate and business owner have a need. Consider the hiring process as a matchmaker—to find the most appropriate job for the most appropriate job candidate.

Your resume serves a specific role. EVERY resume needs tailoring to each specific business. Potential employers want RESULTS, what is your unique selling proposition to help them achieve these results? What can you do that no one else can? How can you qualify your results? How can you describe your unique qualities, your unique talents, and your unique value that you bring to the table? 

2. MARKET YOUR SKILLS:  Many graduates simply list their credentials, and previous employers or volunteer history, and then wonder why employers aren’t beating a path to their door. Remember that 400 or more other candidates just applied for that same job. You MUST convince the person reviewing your resume that YOU are the one they want to talk with. You don’t have to sell yourself, you simply have to market yourself to show how YOU are THEE BEST candidate that uniquely meets the needs for their business. Think: round peg, round hole. Show them how your skills match their needs.

3. HIGHTLIGHT YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION: Not only do you want to show how your skills match their minimum requirements or needs, you want to highlight your unique selling proposition. WHY are you the best candidate? What UNIQUELY qualifies you beyond the minimum requirements? If a business is looking for a customer service agent, why are you uniquely qualified as a GREAT customer service agent? Go deeper behind the “I’m good with people” or “I like to serve people’s needs.” Define your unique selling proposition of how. What do you do that is different? “I’m a graduate of the Dale Carnegie Program of How to Win Friends and Influence People” or “I am wonderful at conflict negotiation or working with difficult customers.”

For many who want to teach in academia, you must have more than just degrees and credentials. Many universities want to see publications in peer-reviewed books and journals; they want to see current research presented at academic conferences and submitted papers. You MUST be better than all other 399 people who applied for the job. What is it that you bring to the table that ONLY you can bring?

4. INNOVATION:  Remember, in this global economy and in this age of emerging technologies, there are many tools that can be strategically used at your fingertips that few ever bring up during an interview. How are you innovative? Business owners are not JUST looking for a person to fill a job; they look for those who can contribute to their organization. What innovation do you bring to the job? For example, think SMART Phone. When a customer searches for something in a store, how can you help? Many innovative clerks can use the tool that is typically within their grasp—their SMART phone. What technology can you bring to the table? What process can you streamline? What efficiency can you bring to the organization to save time, money, and increase profits? In others words, what unique innovation can you bring to the organization to do the job better than the organization thought you could? Always remind yourself that you must compete against the other 399+ people who also applied for the job.

5. CREATIVE & CRITICAL THINKERS: Think competitive edge, skills such as critical thinking & analysis, refractive thinking & synthesis, and creative thinking need to be the focus of your resume and interview. Business owners need employees who can think on their feet, go off script, negotiate conflict, and find the solution to the problem at hand in the moment. Yet again, what is your unique selling proposition and competitive advantage in these areas? What kind of critical and refractive thinking skills do you bring to the table? Why are you better, faster, and more efficient than anyone else is?

My hope is that using these five tips will change how you think of the hiring process. Remember you must compete against many, MANY others for that one job opening. Your resume has to stand above the crowd with your unique selling proposition; what is unique about what you bring to the table? When we use a marketing approach, we are not selling ourselves; we are simply connect our skills with the needs of a business to broker the deal! Much continued success!

Dr. Cheryl Lentz
The Academic Entrepreneur™ is passionate about closing the gap between academia and the business world. http://www.DrCherylLentz.com,

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April 5th, 2014 by admin