Your USP is Key (but timing is everything)

stand outA USP (Unique Selling Point) is a critical part of your brand in a job search.  No matter what your profession or background, there is something that sets you apart from the competition in your field.  Some examples might be that you:

–          Are bi-lingual or multi-lingual

–          Have a rare combination of skills (e.g. Lawyer and CPA)

–          Possess an unusual outside accomplishment (e.g., you were an Olympian)

–          Have a special talent that is relevant (e.g., published author in your field)

–          Completed an ex-pat assignment or have extensive global experience

–          Bring a diverse background that broadens your ability to contribute in unique ways

The list is endless.  And it’s worth the time to figure out what makes you unique because your USP will help you to answer the question, “Why should we hire you over the 30 other qualified candidates?” A USP is your differentiator. It shows an employer how they will get even more bang for their buck if they hire you – a qualified applicant PLUS someone who can communicate with the office in Brazil?  Score!

However, before you discuss how you are UNIQUE, you need to get in front of the decision makers by showing why you are a perfect MATCH.   The best way to do this is to ensure that your skills and accomplishments on paper (or Linked In or through networking) align directly with the requirements of the job, without too much extraneous information that would muddy the waters.  Your aim is to connect the dots for an employer and make it easy for them to see you as a solid fit for the position.  The USP is the proverbial “icing on the cake.”

The two-step strategy is simple:

1) Demonstrate that you’re a close fit for the requirements of the job to get in front of the decision-makers.

2) Blow your competition away by showing how your USP will enable you to bring even more value to the table than the basic requirements (and the other 5 candidates who are vying for the role).

Happy Hunting!

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