Magazine article Talent Development

Distinguish Yourself and Excel in the Profession

Magazine article Talent Development

Distinguish Yourself and Excel in the Profession

Article excerpt

It is likely that, as an aspiring or experienced professional, you are serious about making a difference, you understand the need to update your skills and be more aware of the latest workplace trends, and you want to continue to hone your edge to distinguish yourself. And although you value the education, training, and experience you already have, you probably recognize that there always will be a learning curve to master. But because you want to contribute to the field and make a difference, it's likely you see these learning curves as opportunities to grow and contribute rather than as requirements you must adhere to if you want to remain employable.

You offer talent to your boss, your team, or a potential employer. It is your uniqueness and your ability to stand out and make the case for the value you can offer that will get you closer to the position you are applying for or the promotion you seek.

What is your value proposition?

You might think that the term "value proposition" is what marketers need to come up with to help their organizations sell a product or service. The truth is that every employee and job seeker today needs to have a personal value proposition (PVP).

Organizations are looking for workers who add value to their bottom line because it's not enough to show up with the same skills as the 20 (or more) people applying for the same job. If you're already employed, it's not enough to go into work each day thinking that what got you hired is enough to keep you employed. describes a value proposition as "a short statement that clearly communicates the benefits that your potential client gets by using your product, service, or idea." A value proposition does the same thing for you--it lets you communicate what it is that you, as a training and development professional, can offer to an employer. Mind Tools notes that "the idea is to help [your prospective employer] see the specific value your offer brings to them."

Mind Tools offers the following ideas on how to build your own PVP.

Know your customer, potential employer, or project head. Also know the trends in the field so you can relate those trends and your skills to meet the needs of your customer.

Know your products, service, or idea. What specifically do you have to offer? Consider which areas of expertise represent your areas of strength.

Know your competitors. You may not know everyone who is applying for the promotion or position you seek, but you can get an idea of the likely skill level of others who are applying by reviewing the job announcement. Through your social media connections, you may get an idea of who has held the position before, or who excels in the kind of work you're seeking. Use that information to benchmark your own skills.

Distill the customer-oriented proposition. Try looking at the situation from the employer's perspective: What unique combination of skills, competencies, and areas of expertise do you, as a training and development professional, have that would solve the employer's problem or contribute to that company's growth and success?

Personal branding

At its simplest, your brand represents how you are perceived by others. It is the impression that others get from seeing how you behave and noticing how you present yourself.

It is much more than a style of dress, a particular degree or credential, or the associations to which you belong. Mainly it is the unique "stamp" you put on everything you say or do. Because no one will do things and present themselves in exactly the same way that you do, your uniqueness is what people notice.

If you're one of those people who wonder if branding is just the latest buzzword that will soon fade, consider this: The economy is on its way to recovery and it's likely that more professionals across every field (including ours) will be looking for new opportunities. …

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