Developing your Personal Value Proposition (PVP) – sometimes referred to as your Personal Brand Statement – is a critical component in your job search.
Your PVP will allow you to:
- Identify industries and companies to target in your job search.
- Ensure that your resume is read in its entirety.
- Concisely articulate relevant attributes and capabilities.
- Demonstrate focus, commitment and self-knowledge.
A PVP is a brief statement of your relevant attributes, skills and knowledge and, proven abilities and should not exceed 50 words.
As a recent grad you probably don’t have a lot of experience to call on in crafting your PVP. A recent survey by The National Association of Colleges and Employers Colleges of 250 US hiring managers indicates that companies are looking for the following skills in recent grads in order of priority:
- Ability to work or lead in a team structure
- Ability to make decisions and solve problems (tie)
- Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization
- Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work
- Ability to obtain and process information
- Ability to analyze quantitative data
- Technical knowledge related to the job
- Proficiency with computer software programs
- Ability to create and/or edit written reports
- Ability to sell and influence others
You probably don’t have all of those skills so pick the top 3 or 4 that you do have.
You can fine tune the skills you identify by visiting the websites of relevant companies and doing some research. Companies often indicate what they are looking for in employees. The company’s Mission and/or Values statements may also provide some insights. Job postings frequently identify the skills and attributes companies are seeking.
A word of caution – you must be able to cite at least one good example of a situation in which you have demonstrated each of those skills and attributes. You will use those examples when you answer the question frequently asked in an interview “Tell me about yourself”. If, for example, you have said that you have the ability to lead teams you need to be able to tell a story about a time when you led a team. If you indicated that you had the ability to solve problems you may be asked, in a job interview, to give an example of a time when you solved a challenging problem so be prepared with an example.
The last element of your PVP identifies the nature of the role you are seeking. This approach contains an element of risk because it forces you to narrow the opportunities in which you are interested and for which you may be qualified. For example, if you say that you are seeking an entry level marketing role you may be passed over for role in customer service that might have been a good fit.
Regardless, I believe that specifying what you are looking for is the best approach. It shows self-knowledge commitment and focus. In addition, most people are intellectually lazy and won’t take the time or energy to figure it out – this is one of the main reasons resumes are only read for 7 seconds.
Here is a good example of a PVP:
“A results oriented recent university graduate with a demonstrated ability to contribute to and lead teams, communicate effectively with customers, solve challenging problems and make decisions, seeking an entry level sales role in a growing organization.”