One of the biggest mistakes I see with job seekers is in not being prepared with a positioning statement. It’s one of the most important tools in your job search kit. What’s yours?
Your vital communications tool
You’ll use your positioning statement or pitch in conversations throughout your job search in networking and interviews. You’ll use written variations of it in your resume, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles or other communications. It responds to a request that you are likely to hear quite frequently during your talks with people: Tell me about yourself. It’s actually a great opportunity for you to concisely and confidently position yourself with others who might be able to help you.
4 things in brief
Write your statement, challenging yourself to keep it short—under two minutes. After you’ve written it, practice it out loud so that it comes out naturally and unrehearsed. Shape it around these areas:
- Line of work. First state your professional identity in the present tense (I am a Financial Analyst). Create a vivid personal image by associating yourself with your true profession and/or professional level (rather than your previous job title or organization). For example, even if your job title is Director, you might consider Sales Executive a truer picture.
- Expertise. When talking about your expertise, focus on competencies and skills. For example, a logistics executive might talk about competencies in carrier and vendor negotiations, multimodal transportation or multi-partner distribution. An automotive engineer might discuss competencies in ISO initiatives, design innovation, structural simulation or specialized technology skills.
- Types of organizations / settings. Sum up the organizations or settings in which you’ve worked, such as a Fortune 500, entrepreneurial business, government agency, non-profit entity or small consulting firm. Insert types of activities, such as taking a leadership role, representing the company with your community or a professional association or participating on a board or committees.
- Unique value. Articulate what differentiates you from your competition, emphasizing a particularly deep (and marketable) technical knowledge, an exceptional approach to finding solutions to problems, or something else that sets you apart from others in your field.
Here’s Jack’s positioning statement.
I am an operations and finance executive with an MBA, Master’s in Manufacturing Engineering, and Six Sigma Green Belt credentials. I have extensive experience in manufacturing operational responsibilities, including mergers and acquisitions, due diligence, synergy analysis and continuous improvement. I’ve been particularly effective in turnaround leadership, financial restructuring and process improvement to drive organizational performance and EBITDA. Most recently, I led initiatives generating over $25 million in aggregate annual cost savings.
You can use different methods to introduce strengths and expertise. The key is to create a clear impression of value to potential employers. As with most of your job search communications, you will likely continue to tweak and refine your statement. You’ll be armed when that tell me about yourself question pops up! Posturing clearly! Looking good!