It’s common to see people switch jobs or careers, at least a few times, over the span of their professional life. There are a variety of reasons for this. They could be seeking a promotion in their current company. They might be seeking professional growth in another organization. Perhaps they are pursuing a better company culture or identifying a new role because their job has been eliminated. They might be relocating, or they simply want to apply their transferable expertise and talents to a different role or industry than they’ve held previously. Whatever the reason for this career move, job seekers need to be prepared to clearly articulate what they will deliver in the way of value to a future employer. In other words, distinctly conveying your Personal Value Proposition (PVP), which explains what skills, attributes and, most importantly, measurable results an employer can expect from you, is essential in differentiating you from others in the competitive employment landscape.
In thinking about writing this blog post, I made a parallel between value propositions of brands and value propositions of individuals. Companies and brands are constantly assessing the consumer landscape and determining how their product or brand will resonate with consumers, so they’ll buy. The Personal Value Proposition for individuals, in the context of their career, is essentially the same thing in my opinion. PVPs are trying to answer the question, “Why should I hire you?” Both value propositions (brands and individuals) are designed to explain value over function. In my example below, I’m comparing Slack’s value proposition of its collaboration tool to the value proposition of a sales professional. Let’s face it. There are countless online collaboration tools on the market and even more sales professionals looking for a job. What makes one collaboration tool better and more valuable than another and what makes one sales professional more valuable than another? Let me explain by using Slack as the brand example and an Account Executive as the job seeker example.
Brand Value Proposition vs Personal Value Proposition
Slack is a collaboration and messaging hub that connects your organization. Their value proposition is “Making work simpler, more pleasant, and more productive. Slack helps people communicate better”. Slack has clearly described how this product relieves a pain point of the headaches surrounding too much information in too many places.
For an Account Executive’s value proposition, the goal is to describe how they will extend the reach of a product and increase revenue. It may sound something like this: “My skills as an Account Executive will generate revenue for you as you launch a new software. I can bring to your company experience successfully owning and driving the go-to-market strategy, leading the sales cycle and increasing new business. My measurable achievements will impact your business positively in the following ways:
- Increase new business in established territory by 60% within 12 months and triple-digit growth annually thereafter.
- Develop and increase strategic partnerships resulting in 40% increase in revenue within 6 months.
- Reduce sales operational budget by 15%.
Both value propositions provide the answer to how to solve the problem of their respective audience. The sales professional who explains his/her value in this way provides a differentiator to sales professionals who are unable to produce past proof of solving a problem.
How to articulate your value proposition
To get you started on developing your Personal Value Statement, I’ve outlined a few steps which should get you there:
- What problems do you solve?
- Who needs you?
- How do your top strengths and skills align with what a company or industry needs?
- What is your proven impact and what are your proven achievements?
Preserving (and increasing!) your value
A Personal Value Proposition is not a static, one-time statement or manifesto. The astute job seeker, and any professional for that matter (like a consumer brand) is continually monitoring their value proposition and making choices on how to refine it, revise it, and invest in it with additional learnings to keep their value – well, valuable! What may have been prized five years ago, or even three years ago, may not hold the same worth today. If you’ve not taken the time to devise a robust Personal Value Proposition, I encourage you to do so. You want to define your value, so it’s not left to others to try and figure it out.