Identifying Added-Value in Your Marketing Tool Kit. I am a classically trained musician. I play all wind instruments with some fluency and can conduct a large orchestra through Shostakovich Symphony Number 5 (my dream…New York Phil, call me!). From my training, I learned that not all classical music is the same. I discovered I enjoyed the Baroque period of music — music that was excessively gilded, ornate, and “flowery.” Simply put, the Baroque period took a simple melody and dressed it up.
Okay, your music lesson is over. The reason I mentioned this musical reference is because in teaching my Cover Letter class recently I found that we became engrossed in a conversation on added-value…or, to complete the reference, taking an otherwise adequate item and making it “Baroque” – in this case, taking a skill or value-item and making it MORE valuable by providing more detail of worth to the employer.
I have always looked at every aspect of my Job Search Marketing Tool Kit as an opportunity to demonstrate added-value, not just value. First, your Tool Kit includes all you use in your presentation for a job: a resume, a cover letter, your interviewing skills, your networking ability, thank you notes, your completed Linked In Profile, et cetera.
In presenting yourself to a potential employer or networking contact, you should always be thinking in terms of added value. Let’s look at the process for tailoring a resume to a job:
• The job description states “Must be proficient in Microsoft PowerPoint.”
• Your resume has a bulleted list of skill Highlights at the top that includes this phrase “Proficient in Microsoft Office including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint”
Perfect! You match. You’re done! …Nope.
Let’s think logically about this. A TON of people are proficient in Microsoft Office. After basic computer skills, this is probably the most common skill set in the prevailing labor pool. So, what makes you unique? Let’s look back at the job description. They are asking for proficiency in PowerPoint, specifically. Because this is slide presentation software, this suggests either you or someone for whom you work will be presenting material to audiences internally or externally.
So, if you have created and/or delivered presentations using this software, this is ADDED-VALUE. Now, we might want to edit our resume to be a bit more detailed:
• “Using PowerPoint, created and delivered over 35 sales presentation to small and large internal and external audiences of up to 100 people over the past year”
This reads as not only a statement of your skill, but a description of the quality of your skill. I tell my job search students, always ask yourself: Am I just telling the employer I performed this job duty or how well I performed this duty? This applies to your resume line items, your cover letter sentences, your interview responses…EVERYTHING in your tool kit.
Demonstrating ADDED-value is critical to succeeding in the current job market where many qualified candidates are vying for limited positions. How will you stand out? How will you show that you can not only do the job, you can do it better than the other candidates? To start, you may want to consider this…if it ain’t Baroque, fix it.
Danny Zendejas is the Senior Business Consultant specializing in the Education Industry for Workforce Solutions in the Houston metropolitan area. He has over eight years of experience in workforce development and is a native of San Antonio, Texas.