By Jack Mulcahy, ACRW
Jack Mulcahy Resume Services
“Why should I hire you, instead of one of the other candidates out there?”
Whether you’ve never been on an interview or written a resume, or you’re a veteran of the interview process and have what you consider the world’s greatest resume, that question needs to be foremost in your mind at all times during the hiring process. And to have any hope of obtaining the position, you had better have a more intelligent answer than, “I’m a hard worker,” or “I won’t cost the company a lot of money.”
The answer you need is something you must define before you present the final version of your resume to any employer. You may have a clear idea of it before you begin, or it may emerge as a result of your own brainstorming while writing. What I am talking about is known as your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The USP is the quality or qualities that set you apart from your competition. This is what tells the prospective employer why s/he should purchase your services instead of someone else’s.
The USP also may be referred to as your brand. Brand has become the latest in a long line of hot topics to hit the employment field. But regardless which you call it, you need to define it clearly and without any equivocation throughout your resume, or else you’re finished before you’ve started.
In developing your USP, you need to define: who you are (and what you do); what benefits you will bring to the employer when you’re hired; and why you are better than your competition.
Let’s take a look at this example, taken from the introduction to a resume:
Hands-on leader with outstanding interpersonal skills; Organizational agility; Negotiation skills; Presentation skills; Computer proficient; Multi task within fast-paced environments.
This individual is trying to sell himself as a set of skills. Is there a person in there? Does the person (to grant him the benefit of the doubt) show who he is? Why he’s better than his competition? Benefits he will bring to the employer?
Contrast that example with this one:
District Sales Manager, with experience in organic sales, recruitment, coaching, and marketing, who propelled sales growth 30% and increased client loyalty 35% within 1 year. Natural leader, expert in creation and management of high-quality sales teams, communication of business goals, and motivation of staff to exemplary performance. Innovative problem-solver, adept in delivering superior client service and developing new systems.
In the second example, the individual describes herself in terms of experience, accomplishments, and expertise. In other words, “This is who I am, what benefits I will bring, and why I’m better than the competition.”
Which one would you hire?