‘Unique Selling Point’ (or USP) is a marketing idea developed to help people in business improve their sales. As a job seeker, you also have something to sell: YOURSELF!
By developing your USPs learn how to sell yourself when applying for a job and stand out from the crowd.
These five tips will help you to improve your CV by using your USPs and help you get an interview.
1) What does the employer want?
When reading a job advert you have to work out what your audience (i.e. the employers) are looking for. Read the
* Job title
* Advert content
* Person specification
These will show the qualifications, experience and skills that the employers require. How does your career history fit these requirements? (see article on Four easy ways to fit your CV to the job advert)
2) Get your message out there
This is really important. You might be a brilliant candidate, but if the key people do not know that you are available then you will lose out.
How to let employers know you’re looking for work:
* apply directly for jobs advertised on jobs.ac.uk and other sites
* network: use your supervisor, colleagues, academic contacts and let them all know you’re on the job market (see article on academic networking)
3) Respond to feedback
If you’ve been job hunting for a while, you might have had a few interviews already. Even if you fail you can still get feedback on your performance. This feedback can be used to improve your chances of getting a job in the future. Either change your CV to make it more attractive or improve your interview skills (see article on interview technique)
4) Know your competition
Job hunting, just like selling, is a competition. If you are constantly knocked back then perhaps you need to learn from your competition on how they succeed when you have not.
So, share job-hunting techniques with your peers. Speak to people in your field who have been recently hired. But don’t give too much away to people who will be applying for the same jobs as you!
5) Eliminate weaknesses
If you know that the profile you present to employers is weak in some way, work hard to improve it.
* polish your CV
* improve your interview technique
* write better cover letters
* present your skills/knowledge base better
* develop your own career by going on courses, learning new skills.