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Last night I met with an old school friend. He is currently in the process of setting up his own social enterprise, aimed at educating and helping the younger generation get into and succeed in the work place (www.ignitepotential.co.uk). While we chatted away about his business and my job as a recruitment professional, it became clear that we shared a common view on the current market and how best to land a job.
Everyone, without exception, has a unique selling point (a “USP”). USP’s are what businesses use to set them apart from their competition and stand out above the crowd. The same principal needs to be applied at a personal level and is all too often forgotten in the mad dash to apply to as many jobs as possible, many of these unrelated to areas of interest or skills.
On the face of it, many graduate CVs read the same. There may be some work experience, a degree (or 3!) and a short personal profile with some interests. These are all essential, but what any employer will be looking for is this USP which not only makes you different, but also which may add value to their business.
Job searching in this current climate not only requires a carefully considered, targeted approach but it also requires you to understand what makes you unique. You can then sell this back to people in a way that will relate to the role that you are applying to (without going over board with self-flattery!)
A USP does not have to come from previous work experience; it may be a positive personality trait that makes you work well with people or even a unique skill that very few have. Whatever it is, make sure you know how to sell it both on your CV and in person and most importantly, remember to make it relevant to the work environment you are applying to!
It may be interesting to party-goers to hear that you have a third ear, but will not be of interest to a potential employer unless the role requires an excellent listener and your third ear means that you can listen much better than others with two ears! Your USP does not have to be as random nor as unusual as that; it could simply be the fact that you won a scholarship for your degree, or you helped to set up a new society, or indeed you can explain how your experience as football team captain relates to business management.
It may sound unusual, but have a think about your USP and what makes you unique. It may well open doors to opportunities you never realised existed and may even make you think about jobs that you had never previously considered.
Happy job hunting.
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