Begin with the end in mind: What job do you want? Then figure out what qualities, attributes, and skills are required for success in that job. How can you demonstrate that you possess them?
Maybe you’re known as, “the sales manager that makes quota no matter what,” or “the engineer that can speak in a language the customer understands.” That’s your positioning. You must find a way to stand out in a crowded job search. If you’re not known for something, you won’t be known for anything. One size does not fit all.
Companies hire based on their needs. This is true for all jobs — from an entry-level administrative position to the CEO. What problem is the company trying to solve? Solving the problem can be about saving time or building customer relationships. Position yourself to solve that problem.
When employers are hiring, they really want to know: “Why should I choose you instead of someone else?” Positioning is an important part of answering this question. You can’t be all things to all employers, so you need to figure out what sets you apart for that particular question.
The most difficult part about positioning is sounding original. Be specific about what distinguishes you. Your positioning is not your job title. If your positioning could be said about almost anyone with your same job title, it needs work.
Make sure your personal positioning aligns with your target company’s wants, needs, and/or values. Remember: Employers hire for their reasons, not yours!
Benefits of Positioning
The ability to communicate “why you” is important in the job search. It helps you stand out from other job candidates. It makes you memorable. You want the interviewer to say, “Oh, I remember (him/her)!”
When networking, your positioning statement can be the answer to the question, “What do you do?” In an interview, your personal position can be used when asked, “Tell me about yourself.”
Knowing your skills and professional qualifications — and being able to articulate them — will also help you navigate applicant tracking systems (ATS).
Use your positioning effectively to attract connections, opportunities, and job offers.
How to Develop Your Positioning
To identify how to position yourself, it helps to examine a couple of key issues:
- What are the Company’s Needs? What specific problem are they trying to solve with this job? Are they trying to make money? Save money? Save time? Keep existing customers? Acquire new customers?
- What are your Core Abilities? What special abilities do you possess that separate you from other candidates for this position?
- What are your Values? What is your belief system (behavior and ethics) that is inherent to you? Does this set you apart?
- What is your Connection to the Company’s Needs? Do you possess something special that solves your target employer’s problem?
Look to your work history for clues to your positioning. What did you do to make things better in your previous positions? Look for instances where you showed leadership and had accomplishments.