Don’t Just Sell Yourself, Communicate Your Value

Lead with your soft skills

When employers meet you, they first encounter who you are, not what you can do. To effectively communicate your value, start with who you are as a person; not what you know and definitely not your academic credentials and pedigree. Instead, lead with your soft skills. Soft skills are personal attributes, attitudes and character traits that define one’s personality and general disposition. Less specialized and rooted in specific vocations, they are essentially “social skills” that help to decide whether one can interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.

Make sure you can hack it

Although Human Resource managers are now prioritizing soft skills, recruiters also want to reap tangible benefits from hiring candidates. To communicate your value to potential employers, aim to demonstrate that you can actually get the job done. To do this, foreground your specific occupational skills, knowledge and expertise and your prior experience that help to illustrate your hard skills. Hard skills are “technical knowledge or training that you have gained through any life experience, including your career or education.’’

Stand out

It is not enough to demonstrate your hard and soft skills. To communicate your value, it is essential to take stock of the areas in which you are most competitive, what marketers call your “unique value proposition” (UVP). A UVP essentially “describes your value, to whom you provide that value, and what makes you different from your competition”, says Founder of Clickx, Solomon Thimothy. Thimothy was referring to entrepreneurs keen to grow a successful and sustainable business and their obligation to know their unique value to position their product or service as the best possible option in the marketplace. It is also critical for job seekers to define the concrete variables that set them apart from competitors in their field before aiming to sell themselves.

Know the pain points your competencies solve

Once you land a position, the need to communicate your value does not stop. It is on the job that it becomes even more critical to communicate your value to your employer. Showing your worth immediately puts you in line for promotions and other growth opportunities. A valued employee is also in the best position to survive painful company changes such as downsizing. There are two surefire ways to illustrate your value to your employer. The first is to contribute good work — be productive, demonstrate good leadership skills and effectively get things done. The second is to solve problems.

Be visible

A key aspect of communicating your value lies not just in your exceptional performance but in your visibility. Many professionals are unquestionable “performers.” They put their head down and do their work. They see themselves as “quiet leaders” and efficient workers who produce results for their employers. They believe that their work speaks for them. Unfortunately, it does not. Being visible is critical to communicating your value because it establishes your presence within your target market; and being seen as a credible expert in your field. There are multiple ways to become more visible in your niche including assuming leadership opportunities, amplifying your voice through speaking engagements and demonstrating thought leadership by sharing your passion, knowledge and expertise through books or blogs as well as leading conversations in your niche on social media. Being an expert is not what you know, it is what you share.

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