Posted on 29/05/2019 by Renae Sullivan
In order to succeed in a competitive job market, you need to understand what sets you apart from the competition and how to communicate that to a prospective employer. What makes you unique?
Begin with self-awareness
Do you know who you are personally and professionally? It’s surprising how many people don’t. How will a prospective employer understand what you have to offer if you’re not certain of it yourself?
You may not realise that some of the things you do are unique selling points. Perhaps it comes naturally and you’re not conscious of the underlying skills that help you succeed.
For example, imagine you are great at selling. It is reflected in the fact you beat your sales target every month. But why is that? It could be your ability to use persuasive communication techniques to appeal to a customer’s emotion, reasoning and credibility to overcome their objections and close the deal. That’s a unique talent – and you need to be aware of it.
If you are struggling to know your unique selling points, look for advice externally. Ask for regular performance reviews if you are not getting them. Ask your managers. Ask your peers. Ask your friends. What do they think you do that sets you apart from the rest - you’ll be surprised what they have to say when you ask.
Start gathering this information before you are looking for a job. Write your achievements on your resume as they happen. Make building your employment self-confidence a continuous, ongoing activity.
Learn to brand yourself
You are more than a few pages of resume. You are everything you know and believe in. So how do you convey this to prospective employers before you get a chance to meet face-to-face with them?
Invest the time to build a consistent and respected professional brand, both online and offline. Consider the needs and wants of your target audience and try to communicate what you could potentially do for them.
Once you understand what you have to offer, you should have more confidence to create a professional brand based on your strengths and values.
Some online branding ideas include:
- Using keywords on your profiles that reflect what you want to be known for
- Publishing previous projects that illustrate your skills
- Sharing and commenting on industry news and relevant posts that convey your values and ideas (for example: a great new article on innovative technologies in aged care)
- Asking great questions and establishing dialogue with thought leaders in your desired field
- Posting blogs, perhaps sharing your story on how you got to where you are
- Sharing your education and self-development experiences so others can participate and relate to your journey
- Volunteering for organisations and events to enhance your professional skills.
Practise your elevator pitch
When you meet a prospective employer, you have a very short time to make a first impression and get your message across. You need to be able to concisely convey a version of who you are and what you have to offer.
Employers want to know how you can help them, so find out the key challenges your prospective industry or employer faces and work out how you fit in.
But how do you do this?
- Connect and follow key industry contacts on LinkedIn and see what they share.
- Subscribe to industry news sites and organisations (such as peak bodies and associations)
- Attend industry events, seminars and training sessions, and speak to people who are in similar fields and positions.
Once you have a good perception of your own attributes and how you can help an organisation, you can start getting that across to others. However, it takes practise. And make sure you do it out loud.