Sell Your Value, Not Just Skills

If you are like most people, your job search - or project search - centers around selling your skills. You spend lots of time talking about what you know how to do, what you have done, what you can do. It's all skill-based.

Selling just skills misses the main point. Sure, prospective employers, hiring managers, and joint venture and strategic partners want to know what you CAN do. But, more importantly, they want to know what VALUE you can provide to them. What kind of contribution can you make? Where can you add value? How can you make a difference? And, where did you make a difference in the past? By selling your value, you are answering the following questions for the hiring manager: what can you do for me? Why should I hire you and what do I get in return? What will be the return on my investment in you?

Companies always hire value. And, you don't need to be a PhD psychologist, an ingenue, a genius or a master innovator. Most everyone can provide value.

Providing value is not dependent on your level of job position. It can happen anywhere. For example, I gave workshops to a group of people in South Carolina who had been working in a manufacturing plant that closed down and moved to Mexico. One of the class participants, a warehouse worker, told me the following story: when he was first hired, he approached his senior supervisor to ask about the number of customer complaints he had received and the nature of the complaint. It turns out that the packaging used to transport the product was flimsy, causing the product to become damaged in transit and leading to lots of recalls, which cost the company money. 

This warehouse worker took the initiative to pull together a group of people to figure out how to change the packaging process. They came up with a new, cost-effective procedure that reduced the number of complaints by 65%, saving the company hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Sometimes the contributions are small. It could be, for example, the time you took to help a struggling co-worker get up to speed on a project. Or the time you came up with a better process for serving customers. Or, you discovered a more effective software program. Or,...  

The key lies in looking at your past accomplishments. Where did you make a difference in the past? What did it take to accomplishment it? What comes naturally to you? 


Look back on what you've done in past work assignments. Where did you make a difference? Remember, it can be something small, as long as it is meaningful to you. It can even be an idea you had that no one would listen to. What things are you proud of? Where were you recognized? Make a list. Then think about and list out what it took to get the accomplishment done. These will give you the puzzle pieces you need to begin to figure out your "Value Story." 

If you can figure out how to sell your value, you'll be more attractive to people looking to hire you, whether in a job or project. You'll make it much easier for them to understand why they should hire you. You'll set yourself apart from the competition, people who are still selling just skills. Try this approach and let me know how you do.

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