One of the real advantages I gained when I decided to start my own business is that I started to develop a skillset that had been previously unknown to me. I now know some of these skills would have been a tremendous advantage in job-seeking. The most important is the process for building a Unique Value Profile.
A Unique Value Profile states what you offer as a unique and desirable solution to your prospective employer’s problems and opportunities.
You can build a Unique Value Profile by defining and researching your target, understanding your competitors and your own strengths, and matching your uniqueness to your target employer’s needs. Let’s look at what that means for each of those tasks:
Define your target. While some job hunters will aimlessly apply for jobs with any employer who is recruiting for new employees, that leads to wasted energy and a great deal of discouragement.
Let’s look at how the film The 40-Year-Old Virgin offers a metaphor for job-hunting experience. In the movie, Steve Carrell’s character (Andy) was advised by his friends to try for anyone and everyone they thought would be a “sure thing,” but their advice was terrible. Whenever Andy followed their advice, he had humiliating and off-putting experiences. We also got to see how his friends were reaping the consequences of their own terrible choices.
(“Humiliating and off-putting experiences” describes a few careers I’ve heard of!)
The shotgun approach is just as bad for job hunting. Job-seekers tend to assume that a job posting means there’s a real chance at a job with that employer, but it only means the employer has some clarity about what they want. Most likely it isn’t you. Better for you to get clarity about what you want.
Research your target employers. The specific information you want to gain through this research phase will be related to the work you believe you want to do. Within that broader category do some additional digging to find out what that company’s challenges are. What do they need?
Using our dating metaphor, this is similar to the process Bill Murray’s character Phil went through in the film Groundhog Day. From the beginning of the movie he wanted to get closer to Andie MccDowell’s character, Rita, but it wasn’t until he learned about the deepest longings of her heart that he was able to meet her there. It took him most of the movie to get to know her (and women, and life) well enough to connect with Rita’s human needs.
Understand who your competitors are. Many of us, when we are looking for a job, hate the idea that we are competing with others. When we think about our competitors, we imagine a survival-of-the-fittest scenario in which there’s one winner and lots of losers.
One of the great lessons I have learned in the transition to self-employment is that there really is enough work to go around, but the only way for all of us to be gainfully employed is for each of us to know ourselves and our ‘competition’ well enough to be able to differentiate ourselves from each other.
The benefit of knowing the competition, therefore, is not to try to match them and prove ourselves as good as them, but rather to show ourselves as different from them. Perhaps they have sets of skills that help them meet employers needs in a certain ways, but you have a different set of skills that will help employers in a different way. That difference is an important part of your Unique Value Profile.
Understand your own strengths very well. In order to be able to describe how you are uniquely capable of meeting your prospect’s needs, you need to know your strengths. Take a look at movies like Oceans 11, where every member of the team has a unique skillset that others on the team can’t match. When one of those team members is taken out of the action, the team suffers. Get to know the unique skillset you bring to the team so you can talk about how you will prevent their suffering.
Get support. In the coming weeks I will be announcing an opportunity for job seekers to get the support they need for building their Unique Value Profiles. Through worksheets, video training, and group coaching, you can define and research your prospective employers, understand your competitors and your own strengths, and match your uniqueness to your target employer’s needs. If you are interested in such an opportunity, send me a note and say, “Tell me more about that course!” via Amy@CareerLeadershipAlignment.com.
*Looking for a “knew” job? My goodness, what a typo. And of course when I send out a newsletter with a typo in it, there is nothing I can do but acknowledge that I see it and I know it isn’t right. Here’s what I’ve learned about making mistakes.
Amy Kay Watson coaches talented, brilliant, tender-hearted professionals (like you!) to discover their destiny, own their power, and live their purpose with courage, humor, and compassion–even in a corporate environment. To learn more, go to CareerLeadershipAlignment.com.