When a company is determining how to advertise their products to consumers, they focus on its unique selling points (USPs) - the things which make the product different from any other. It may be that it is smaller, lasts longer or tastes better than its competitors. The same principle applies to you when you are applying for a new job.
You need to think about your unique selling points. What is the one reason that an employer should hire you above all other candidates? What can you bring that is unique or added value to the position/company? What skills and experience do you have that will meet their needs?
Employers can receive hundreds of applications for each vacancy, so it is important that you make your application stand out and get short listed for an interview.
Here are a few ways to help you to identify your USPs:
What are your skills?
Put yourself in the shoes of your clients or colleagues. The image that you have of yourself may differ from the image that you project and you may find that a skill that you excel at but consider to be routine, is highly regarded and desired by others.
What's your benefit?
But employers don't just buy skills. They buy solutions. So how can you make the company money, how can you save the company money and how can you resolve the problems that they have?
For instance, perhaps you are a project manager with a number of skills including software, hardware and management. Great! But that alone won't help you to stand out from every other project manager applying for the same position who has the same skills.
By thinking in more depth about your skills and abilities, you may realise that you are especially proficient at solving complex problems. So your USP is something along the lines of:
"Seasoned project manager who excels at identifying and solving problems"
Add strength to your skills
However, that is simply a feature. Now a benefit needs to be added to this USP.
Sticking to the project manager example, calculate how much money you have generated or saved your organisation during your employment. In this scenario, you may have saved your employer money while working on product implementation. Your USP thus becomes:
"Seasoned project manager who excels at identifying and solving problems and has saved more than £300,000 of company expenditure while completing in excess of £1 million worth of projects during the past three years."
Now the employer can see that they will get return on their investment if they hire you.
Think about what the needs are of the employer and how you can provide the solution. Don't list your USPs; sell them by demonstrating your experience or success - anyone can have 'strong organisational skills', but not everyone can give examples of instances when they have successfully implemented these attributes.