What makes you stand out from the masses looking for jobs? That’s what I’ll be diving into and trying to help you get clarity on in this article.

In my previous article, I talked about building your career plan on the basis of your career goals and how you create your career compass with that. (I suggest you read that article first if you haven’t already done so.)

You’re still here… Great! Then let’s get into it! I’ll give you an alternative to the (often) boring elevator pitch:

Your niche is your unique career contribution

Having read my last article and gone through the tasks in it, you know what it is that drives and motivates you. You also know what it is you’re passionate about when it comes to the career field you have chosen.

A new tendency, according to hireology.com, is that companies are beginning to look more for potential and talent rather than experience.

So as a student, you’ve got one big advantage. You’re updated on the newest tendencies and knowledge within the field you’re going into and you're not stuck in old ways of doing things - that means you can bring in fresh ideas. If you spent time reading books that relate to your future career, in addition to the books you’ve gone through in your classes, then you’re off to a great start.

Your passion, combined with your knowledge and expertise creates the basis of your niche. Add your personality to the mix, and that’s what makes you unique.

It’s time for you to take a look at what’s going on and what the tendencies are in the industry you’re going into. Find out what it is the industry is looking for, or even missing, in order to develop and keep up. You can get internships with leading companies within the field you’re in, or you can even do volunteer work to gain experience and insight.

Once you find out what it is they are looking for, you are going to create a solution, based on your unique career contribution and niche.

Your value proposition - What are you bringing to the table?

Based on your investigation it’s now time to create a personal value proposition. The value proposition is going to be your personal career value statement, explaining in short, what a kind of value a potential employer will get by hiring you.

Working on your proposition will help you get very clear on the value you can create, and sum up in few words, who you are (your professional identity), what your target market is and how you can assist that target market in achieving a result, based on your unique insight or solution.

The layout looks like this:

I am (your professional identity)

I help (your target market)

Do or understand (your solution)

so that (the transformation/result)

For a better understanding, here is my value proposition and WHY statement:

“I’m a Mentor, Speaker and Career Branding Specialist. I help career driven students and Professionals attract the career they want and deserve through authentic Career Branding, so they can unleash their full potential and live a more fulfilled life, doing what they love with less stress, and more to give to the people around them.”

Your Brand Slogan

When creating your brand slogan, you’ll take a look at your value proposition and then draw the essence from it and make it into a 3- to 7-word slogan.

You can use your brand slogan as part of your profile summary in career portals or headline to attract visitors to your profile. Just remember to have some of your professional keywords in there if you choose to use it as your LinkedIn headline. Another way to use your value proposition or brand slogan would be in your job applications.

The more you work with your proposition and slogan, the better it’ll be. That’s why I’ve made a worksheet, with examples of both a value proposition and a brand slogan, you can download and print here

My brand slogan:

“Attract the career you want and deserve and unleash your full potential”

Use taglines instead of a boring elevator pitch

Have you ever met someone who didn’t get the concept of an elevator pitch, and just went on and on about what they do for minutes instead of the 30 seconds it’s meant to last?

I have… Many times…

It’s perfectly fine when someone wants to tell as much as possible about what they do, when you meet for the first time. But to me it can get boring pretty fast and my mind begins to wander if it takes too long. I’ll forget what I’ve been told and that’s not what you want, when you pitch yourself.

You got to make it interesting and engaging, so people will want you to tell more.

But how do you do that?

Creating your taglines is pretty much done in the same way as your value proposition. Instead of basing it on the values you create, you base it on your strengths. Take your top 5 to 7 strengths and make taglines for each of them. That way you can pick and choose which ones to pitch, depending on the situation you’re in.

One tagline could easily be your career mission statement. Create your taglines in a way that they describe what difference you make when you work within your strengths. You want to trigger curiosity in the people you present your taglines for, so they’ll want to hear more and begin to interact with you.

The best way to be remembered is to create a basis for a dialog instead of being the one with the boring elevator pitch that no one will remember afterwards.

Going through the process of making your personal value proposition, brand slogan, and having your taglines in place will make you much more confident not only when you meet new people, but also when it comes to your job search. It’ll make you stand out and get noticed.


Read on: Part 3 - Online footprints can ruin your career opportunities


Our guest blogger Niels Reib is a mentor, speaker and Career Branding specialist who helps career driven students and professionals attract fulfilling careers where they can unleash their full potential. In cooperation with Graduateland, Niels offers special counseling session for students and graduates to kick off their career - including optimizing your LinkedIn profile, creating a strong online presence and taking complete ownership of your career brand.