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In my business, before I develop and write a resume, I require my clients to complete a fairly comprehensive questionnaire. When these questionnaires are returned to me, I am frequently frustrated by incomplete answers…sometimes just a few sentences to describe five, ten, fifteen years of experience!

These clients assume that I have written hundreds of resumes for sales people, or accountants, or operations managers (or whatever profession) and so I must know what they do in their job.

In general they are correct. But, what they don’t understand is that if I simply write a general job description based on my knowledge of various professions and industries, all I have done is define them as one of a million, no different than all of their competitors in the job market. What I really need to do – to create a powerful, interview-generating resume – is define them as one in a million, distinguished from all of their competitors in the job market by a unique value proposition based on their personal and distrinctive talents, skills, and abilities.

We are all unique. To truly stand out in the job market, you must take the time and energy to understand what truly sets you apart and makes you stand out from the crowd. What can you offer your next employer that is distinctive? Why are you best suited to understand and meet the needs and challenges of your next employer? What problems can you solve for them and what results can they expect from you? Hiring you is an investment. As a candidate in the job market, you need to persuasively and convincingly explain why you will deliver a better return than another candidate on that employer’s investment in you.

A resume that simply describes how you are similar to all the other people who do the same type of work that you do, simply won’t cut it. By reflecting on and answering the above questions, you are well on your way to identifying and articulating your unique value proposition. To be effective and generate the results you want, your resume must be centered on this value proposition and your job descriptions should be worded to demonstrate how you have produced value and benefits for your past employers. By creating your resume based on your unique value proposition, you prove in concrete terms your ability to produce a solid return on the employer’s investment in hiring you. This is the key to standing out in the job market!