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Eleanor Anne Sweet

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Executive Job Search Expert: The Art of Marketing Yourself During Your Executive Job Search

executive-recruitingCreating Your Unique Selling Proposition (UPS)

First introduced in the 1940s by Rosser Reeves of Ted Bates and Company, the term unique selling proposition is today used in other fields. It is also tossed around casually to refer to any aspect of an object that differentiates it from similar objects.

In his book Reality in Advertising, Reeves laments that the USP is widely misunderstood.

He goes on to give a precise definition in three parts, as explained by Wikipedia:

1. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. It must not be just words, not just product puffery, not just show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to every reader, "Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit."

2. The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot or does not offer. It must be unique—either in the uniqueness of the brand or as a claim that is not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising.

3. The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions (i.e., pull over new customers to your product).

Applying the Unique Selling Proposition method to your executive job search, your UPS should:

1. Tell the prospective employer, "Hire me and you will get this ____________ benefit for your organization."

2. Pinpoint what you feel is unique about you and what you can bring to the organization. Alternatively, it should highlight something unique that can bring value to the company that other candidates cannot or are unable to communicate that they can.

3. Showcase so strongly and compellingly the benefit and value you bring to the organization that the hiring authority is moved to hire you over all the other candidates they're considering. Basically your unique selling proposition should be kept to one sentence, two at the most. With your USP, you are stating how you are unique and different from all the other job candidates the hiring authority is considering.

When devising your proposition, ask yourself, "What is the most unique benefit or value I will bring to this organization?" Once finalized, your USP is a versatile marketing tool. You can use your unique selling proposition verbally, in cover letters, and on your executive resume.

It is here where you "hook" your executive job contacts' interest enough that they reach out to you and ask you for more information. This is precisely what you're trying to do any time you use your UPS, either verbally or in writing. You want the executive person you're communicating with to engage with or connect with you. That is when you become more of a real person and you start to build a relationship with them.

People hire executive people they like and who can solve a problem that is currently not being resolved within their organization. Simply put, companies hire executive people who will either save them money or make them money!

That being the case, you want your major benefit here to be expressed in a quantifiable way—in other words in dollars saved, increased (sales) revenue, time saved that translated into money saved, or a major problem you solved that translated to increased money for your past employer.

Make sure you're comfortable with saying your unique selling proposition out loud. You want it to sound natural, like you, not like a robot.

*** The above material is an excerpt from my newest executive job search book, The NEW Rules of Job Search – How to Land an Executive Job in the New Economy, Chapter 10, pages 153-54.

I look forward to helping you land that next great executive job that you have been looking for during your executive job search!

Take care,


Eleanor Anne Sweet

Executive Job Search Expert Coach ™


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