Value Proposition: So What Makes You So Special?
And there lies the problem.
If we don’t consciously think about the value proposition that we offer, how does that impact our career?
Let me count the ways…
1) Salary increases. If we don’t know the value proposition of what we do, how do we expect to make a business case to the boss for the raise that we feel that we deserve? Supervisors respond best to salary increase requests when numbers attached, versus a vague “ask” – keep track of all of your projects to know what you’ve brought to the company to make the numbers pencil out in terms of dollars and sense… which is going to make the strongest argument in your favor. Numbers don’t lie.
2) Compensation negotiation. Similarly, in an interview, knowing what you’ve done at a previous employer is important (to justify in the mind of the interviewer) what they should pay you. If you can think about the value proposition perspective, you can gain the upper hand in negotiations.
3) Types of jobs we are qualified to do. If the work you are conducting has value towards different (and higher up) positions, this can make a difference in terms of our advancement path. Understand what the value proposition you have earned now can be leveraged for future promotions.
4) Retention during RIF. Reduction in force is never an easy decision to make from a management perspective, but having a value proposition to the organization can help separate you from the rest of the employees by being indispensable.
5) Courted by other companies. Demonstrating a strong value proposition to a current employer can cause word to get around. Industry peers who recognize your work tend to talk, and this can land on the radar of companies anxious to enhance their own bottom line.
Remember that proactive career managers always are thinking about what they do, in terms of value proposition, and how this work fits into larger career goals.
And part of this is keeping track of your deliverables whether this is part of a yearly performance review, or if not, starting your own statistics is important. You never know when this might come in handy… for great career opportunities or being a retained employee while others are laid off.
Finally, the most important thing about knowing your value proposition is being able to articulate it. As a resume writer, I ask clients what they think that their value proposition is, and most stumble. They either don’t know or can’t say it. Knowing it and being able to talk about about it goes hand-in-hand.
So be smart. Figure out what your value proposition is, then teach yourself to talk about in a way that shows that value to current or potential future employers. You won’t regret it!
Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is a Certified Advanced Résumé Writer and the president of Portland, Ore.-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. Clients from across the United States and Canada and from all career levels have benefited from Dawn’s highly-focused and results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. Many professional groups as well as colleges and universities have appreciated the insights and expertise she shares during presentations on career management topics, and she is a frequently requested national speaker as a result.