I have been speaking and emailing with quite a few job seekers recently about their luck on their job searches. I keep hearing over and over that they are not having a lot of luck. They are getting interviews, which tells me that they have the requisite skills to do the job and that their resumes are making a fairly decent first impression. The fact that they still do not have an offer leads me to make a few conclusions - 1) They are up against really stiff competition and time and again, the comp is beating them out, or (and the most likely scenario) 2) They are not presenting their Value Added Proposition.
So, I asked a couple of them to take me through a mock interview of sorts. I wanted to hear about some of the questions they were being asked and what their responses were. Without boring you to tears on the meat and potatoes of the questions and answers, I will say that what I was hearing shocked and dismayed me. Most of the candidates responses were all about what they learned from the company and how the organizations that they worked for had helped them to become a better Recruiter, Customer Service Manager, Marketing Director, etc. In not one example did any of these candidates give an example of their Value Added Proposition. What is a VAP, you ask?
Succinctly, the Value Added Proposition is what you bring to an organization that the next person doesn't. What makes you or what you have to offer unique and worthwhile? You should be able to sum up you VAP in as few words as possible...preferably 10 words or less, although some will argue that it should be even fewer words. Your VAP is a personal version of a mission statement. In much the same way that a mission statement should be clear and concise, so should your Value Added Proposition. In effect you are selling yourself to a company in the same way that an organization is selling itself to its customers via its mission statement. For instance, my VAP is to "Provide High Quality Services, Under Time, Under Budget, and Within Scope". As your experience changes, so will your VAP. The more projects you take on and the more time spent in your field, the better your VAP will be. Therefore, consider your VAP to be an evolving statement of what you have to offer...a living, breathing, tag line, so to speak.
The bottom line is that, when you interview, companies are looking to see what you can do for them. It is the age old WIIFM factor..."What's in it for me?". The company wants to know why they should hire you, what you are going to provide to them in terms of cost savings, reduction in time and/or resources, increased sales/revenue, etc. It is when you can provide them with the answer to this need or needs that they didn't even realize that they had, when you will find yourself on the receiving end of the offer. So, I task each and every one of you to sit down and figure out your Value Added Proposition. Go get 'em!