Career Advice, Know Your Worth

What’s Your Unique Value Proposition?

In its most basic sense, a unique value proposition is defined as, “a clear statement that describes the benefit of your offer and what distinguishes you from the competition.” It’s a positioning statement that explains what benefit you provide for who and how you do it uniquely well.

In some circles, “unique value proposition” is so overused, it is incapable of rousing a meaningful response. Nonetheless, its importance should not be diminished, even if the phrase itself has gone the way of phrases like “culture fit,” “disruptive innovation,” and “low-hanging fruit.”

When asked to articulate your unique value as an employee, if you spout off words like, “reliable, good communicator, hard worker,” you have missed the mark. Instead, focus on how you can rebrand its meaning. Here’s what we mean.

1. Don’t limit its definition
A unique value proposition doesn’t have to be narrow or limiting. It does, however, clarify areas of value you want to market, and then connects those to the needs of the target audience. Make sure that the words you’re using and the connections you’re making are relevant to you, and only you. The key is to make yourself invaluable.

[Related: 4 Shocking Job Skills That Will Help You Stand Out]

2. Lines are drawn in the sand
Similar to the way the tide erases some lines in the sand and leaves others, a unique value proposition can cross industries. While the reality is that the unique value proposition ‘can’ be industry-specific, it doesn’t have to be. Don’t box yourself in.

3. Focus on your how
A unique value proposition can market the unique methods you use to do what you do well. When analyzing how to describe your unique value proposition, shift from a “why” perspective and instead lean into your “how.”  The manner in which you do what you do will be what will set you apart.

[Related: How to Answer “What Is Your Greatest Weakness?”]

4. Tighten your narrative
A unique value proposition can be communicated crisply and quickly through resume stories. The key to achieving a crisp as Fall resume story is to tighten your narrative. Start by focusing on the big-picture: what is the overarching initiative/impact you want to have? Once you’ve settled on an answer take some time to drill down from there — making sure that you’re noting any measurable results. Add color to your resume story by including your soft skills and traits, details that set you apart.

[Related: Glassdoor’s Rusty Rueff on Navigating a Successful Career]

5. Let emotion seep in
Make your value proposition story uniquely yours by adding emotional appeal to it. The people in companies connect with other people, so allow your unique value proposition story to be humanized. Allow your story to speak of your nuances. Remember, nuance is fearless and steps outside the bounds of everyone else’s career storytelling jargon.

Crafting the story around your unique value proposition allows you the time and space to relearn all that you bring to the table and turn it into a new kind of elevator pitch. While back-to-school season may be a thing of the past for you, don’t let the reenergizing feeling it offers pass you by. Take the Fall months as an opportunity to reassess all you’ve learned and all you are.

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