What's in a positioning statement?
Good marketers know that the essence of a value proposition or positioning statement is not only a way of positioning the companies product in the mind of a potential purchaser but also a way of prompting the buyer into action. A marketing team or group will analyse the companies position in the market, look at the products and services the company provides, look at the market as a whole and check out the competition.
Although not a concrete template many marketers would agree that the three common threads needed in such a statement would include:
- identifying the target customer
- identifying why the customer would buy the service/product on offer
- identify the product/service
Companies go through this exercise in order to differentiate themselves from the competition so imagine if jobseekers, both active and passive, adopted the same way of positioning themselves from others.
One of the more popular tools for the job hunters toolkit, especially for progressive careerists, has been that of personal branding. The idea of self-packaging or self- positioning of yourselves from graduates to silver haired job hunters has caught on as a tool of raising your head above the parapet and being seen. Job seekers have utilised social networking tools like Twitter and Linkedin to position themselves as experts and brands that a company wants to employ. For some companies this has worked true, for others there is a whispered reluctance to hire someone who in some ways has a brand as big as the companies.
Not only that but there are some with whom positioning themselves as a brand does not sit comfortably with either their introvert nature.
Promise of value
The idea of personal branding in and of itself is a good thing especially if you can first see how you position yourself and how an employer can view your job seeking efforts as a promise of value to them.
- What is the ideal company/industry/sector you want to work for
- Why would they want the skills and experience that you offer
- What exactly are the skills and experience you offer
This simple exercise would be a great place to identify to yourself and those in your network what it is you do and why you do it well.
Promoting your value
One of the key ways to promote this is through the various tools that job seekers use to engage the attention of those in their target markets. For example in LinkedIn there are at least three ways you can identify your promise of value from your profile.
In your bio section you can give a quick summary of the work, qualifications and experience you have. In the companies section you can quickly identify what achievements you made in your post and what value you brought to the company you worked for whether paid or voluntary. Finally you could then have some genuine testimonials that demonstrate how you added value to others that you have worked with.
Offline printed materials such as business cards could also herald this value. Imagine a well designed business card with your value proposition on the reverse of the card. Not only would you be able to make an impression face-to-face but when people have left they are reminded of who you are and what you bring to the table.
Build your well now
Sometimes people want to rush exercises like this but it takes time. Whether the job seeker models what businesses do, or works with a coach, or get's together with a job club and works on the statement, it is this starting point that can help to shape CV's (resumes), answers on applications, online biographies and summaries on the plethora of social networking sites available. Take time to build the well now before you need to drink, and best of luck!