How To Use Your Value Add To Land A Job
In a market oversaturated with tech talent, standing out is key to landing interviews and offers. Here’s Career Coach Noreen Walczak on how to leverage your unique value add in the job search.
This article on value add is part of the Coaching Collective series, featuring tips and expertise from Flatiron School Career Coaches. Every Flatiron School graduate is eligible to receive up to 180 days of 1:1 career coaching with one of our professional coaches. This series is a glimpse of the expertise you can access during career coaching at Flatiron School.
As a job seeker, you are tasked with the responsibility of clearly communicating your accomplishments and skills. When done well, interviewers will be certain you are the right person for an open role. If done poorly, your application will be relegated to the bin.
So, how does one communicate what they can bring to the company? How can you clearly define your “value add” in a way that lands you the job?
What Is Value Add
Value add is what makes one job seeker unique versus another job seeker. It is the combination of your learned and acquired skills, innate skills, and passions (your interests and goals).
When articulated correctly, your value add should explain how your prior accomplishments and acquired skills align with a company’s current needs. It concisely summarizes what you offer and are skilled at and why you would be an asset in the role and on the team at the company you are looking to join.
How To Identify Your Value Add
Understanding the need for a value add and knowing your own are separate tasks. While it may seem daunting to summarize your entire past in only a few sentences, it’s key to landing offers.
While some job seekers find it easy to articulate their value add, others may find it difficult. What makes them special or unique, when compared to the ocean of other applicants?
The good news is that every Software Engineer, Cyber Security, Data Science, and Product Design graduate is different, and each will have a unique value add. All you need to do is find it.
Here are a few resources to help you get started:
Take a Personality Test
Reading about your personality can help you to embrace the innate personality traits that make you who you are and enable you to own those unique characteristics that are a natural part of you.
Tests like www.16personalities.com, if you resonate with the results, can provide useful adjectives that can be used on your resume and in your story when you interview.
Spend 10 to 15 minutes writing about your life, experiences, interests, school classes you liked, jobs, hobbies, and those “pivotal moments” that you feel influenced your career journey.
Areas to think about while writing:
- List your learned skills (languages learned, software used, etc.)
- List your interests, those things you like to do or are interested in, and that light you up.
- What have you done in each role you have had?
- What did you do well?
- What did you like about each role?
- What would you want to do again in your next role?
- Make sure to think about why you took the role in the first place, what motivated you to make the decision, and also why you leave and take the next position.
Try to fill up at least an entire single-lined page. If you get stuck and feel like nothing is relevant, just keep writing – you might be surprised where you end up.
Determine Your Why
It is important to understand your “Why” because it is the underlying emotional motivation for the choices you make.
Typically if you ask yourself the question Why 5 times as it relates to a particular question/decision you will get to the underlying “Why” and ultimately if you ask yourself “Why” you made all of the major decisions you made in your past, a theme can be identified. Your Theme is what drives and motivates you and is a part of your “Value Add” to companies. Your Theme can help you to communicate your value and to make connections for the interviewer on why you are the best candidate for the role.
Applying Your Value Add To The Job Search
Now that you’ve articulated your value add, it’s time to use it to find a job that your background will help you succeed in. Here are some examples of how to get started finding jobs or industries that match your value add:
Use Google Search
Google is a powerful tool that can identify opportunities relevant to your value add. Tailor searches to your background, interests, and location preferences for the best results.
For example, a Data Analyst with business-focused experience who wants to work remotely may perform some of the below searches:
“Operations, Data, Jobs, Remote”
“Workflow, Data, Jobs, Remote”
“Quality Assurance, Data Analyst, Jobs, Remote”
“Business, Analyst, Jobs, Remote”
“Supply Chain, Analyst, Jobs, Remote”
Optimize Your Resume
Once you’ve found some jobs you’re interested in and that your background would be a good fit for, it’s time to tailor your documents to feature your value add. While there may be others with your skillset, there is no one else with your exact background and unique combination of personality traits, learned skills, and past experiences.
The more you highlight your value add and how it is relevant to that specific job, the more likely you are to land an interview over another candidate.
Here’s how to optimize your resume:
- Go through the job description and circle words that are key skills and functions for the role.
- Identify accomplishments from your past that align with the circled words.
- Write out what story you would tell to illustrate that you have experience in each key function. (Note: you can use the same accomplishment for several different bullets.)
- Write each experience you would speak about is a bullet on your resume, using keywords from the job description.
Connect The Dots In Interviews
Once you’re in the room with the interviewer, share stories about your experiences and accomplishments whenever possible (and relevant). Tie previous successes to the position’s requirements, and how your experience tees you up for continued performance.
Your skills qualified you for the interview, but your unique value add will land you the job!
About Noreen Walczak
Noreen is an Executive Recruiter and Career Coach with 25 years of combined experience in Business Management, Recruitment, Financial Services, and Coaching. She is passionate about sourcing quality candidates for her clients and loves to assist companies in finding those hard-to-find individuals with a unique combination of skills “Unicorns”. With extensive experience building organizations, teams, and small businesses, she works with decision-makers to build out organizations and identify key employees.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 22 February 2023. Current policies, offerings, procedures, and programs may differ. For up-to-date information visit FlatironSchool.com.
Posted by Noreen Walczak / February 22, 2023
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