Founder of Virtus Career Consulting, speaker and author of the career empowerment book
Let me start with the bottom line first: Knowing your value sets you apart.
Since only 25% of people know their strengths, fewer still have translated their true strengths into a value statement.
If you’d like to learn more about identifying your strengths, read this article.
Before I continue, I’ll share two caveats:
- I’m not suggesting your worth or value as a person is rooted in your job.
Human value does not lie in aspects of work, or performance. The context of this article is to convey the value you’ll bring an employer to help you land a role that is well-suited for you, and will ignite your passion (that is another article, for another time).
- I almost never ask people, “What do you do (for a living)?” I prefer to learn about people through organic conversation. I like to know if they read, and if so, what book might they recommend? I like to discover what people are passionate about. If that leads to their work, well, so be it!
The truth is, many people ask this question, and you should be prepared to answer it without merely stating your job title. That’s boring. Even worse, saying “I’m a project manager” doesn’t tell me anything about why you’re a good project manager. What value do you bring?
Your value statement (sometimes referred to as a value proposition) is simply the primary benefit you can bring to an employer.
Why have a value statement?
Well, value statements:
- Are a great way to answer the question, Why should I hire you?
- Provide an opportunity to explain what makes you unique
- Frame what you’re good at in networking or exploratory conversations
- Provide great language for your LinkedIn profile summary
- Can be leveraged in your resume, and cover letter
- Demonstrate you’ve got a handle on who you are
- Set you apart (most people don’t have one)
- Display confidence
- Need more reasons? I could continue, but let’s get down to brass tacks…
Example value statements
Here are some example value statements of people who know the strengths they want to highlight to employers:
- I have confidence, drive and courage to take risks, overcome problems, and take on new ideas. My communication skills, flexibility, adaptability, enthusiasm, and optimism translate to social ease within, and across, teams.
- I’m an innovator. I have a natural tendency to come up with new ideas and combinations of ideas spontaneously to solve complex problems. I’m able to identify solutions that lead to success, and turn those solutions into actionable steps to bring about excellence. My strong communication skills ensure I effectively manage change throughout a transformation.
- I analyze and strategize before I act. In my work, I’m organized and structured. I can be counted upon. I set high standards for myself and I believe I can achieve them. I scan available ideas and concepts, weighing them against a current strategy, and plan for every conceivable contingency.
One might be thinking, “Hey, I own a house cleaning business, and I’m not going to say that when someone asks me what I do for a living.”
That’s a fair criticism. You should have two versions of your value statement; one spoken, one written.
Here’s an example:
John Doe: “What do you do for a living?”
House Cleaner: “I provide white glove cleaning services to help people bring order to their busy lives, and free them up to have more time to focus on what matters to them.”
Personally, I’d like to hire a cleaner that expresses purpose in their work, and desires to bring value to my family. It’s certainly more compelling than, “I clean houses.”
The best advice I can give is your value statement must be comfortable for you. You’re the one that’s going to speak it, so it has to feel natural.
Creating your value statement
- Make a list of words that are true of you.
Using feedback you’ve repeatedly heard about yourself, assessments you’ve taken, and self-evaluation, generate a list of words or short phrases to describe you (e.g. responsible, achievement-oriented, peace-maker, negotiator, idea-generator, problem-solver, accurate, diversity-oriented, safety-conscious, self-confident, learning agile, comfort with ambiguity, motivates others, entrepreneurial, diplomatic, organized).
- Cross out words and phrases that are ambiguous or cliche, such as “team player”, and choose words that are specific. What makes you a team player? Are you collaborative? Do you listen well? Are you empathetic? Do you have strong accountability? Say that, instead.
- Ask others the following:
- What are three words that describe me?
- What am I really good at?
When writing this article, I turned to my husband and asked him the questions. These were his answers:
Passionate. Dedicated. Visionary.
Reading and understanding people.
Let’s create a draft value statement using his feedback:
Using my ability to read and understand people, I help my clients see a vision for their future. My passion and dedication inspires them, and helps them strive for success.
I wrote that off the cuff in four seconds, but hopefully it demonstrates potential to help you express the value you bring. It’s a great starting point to craft and hone your message.
I would not have thought of those words, nor would I have answered what I’m good at the same way. The perspective of others is valuable. Tap into it.
- Once you’ve drafted your message, practice aloud. If it doesn’t flow, reorganize it until it feels natural.
- Tell someone else. Practice your value statement on your partner, or a close friend. Ask for their feedback, make adjustments, and repeat.
Now, I leave you with the question. What’s your value?
All the best to you!