How to Develop an Effective Personal USP


A personal USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is a powerful way to market yourself by showcasing everything that distinguishes and sets you apart in a pool of similarly qualified candidates.

It is your competitive advantage.

When applying for a job, it’s really important to focus on focus on your unique value, what you offer that your competitors will find hard to match.

The fact is, employers want to know exactly what you bring to the table. Hiring is not cheap. They want to know what your return-on-investment is likely to be, and whether you will be worth the time and money. By developing a clear, crisp, and impactful USP, you can make yourself truly irresistible to recruiters and hiring managers.

What is Your USP?

An effective USP demonstrates your unique value. It showcases how you stand out from your competitors and what you can do for a potential employer. It includes all of the skills, strengths, knowledge, qualifications and experience that are directly relevant to your ideal role.

It should achieve the following objectives:

  • Communicate what you can do for your employer.
  • Instil trust.
  • Emphasize your competence, skill, and experience.

Everything you do must be geared towards establishing credibility and building trust with your target audience (recruiters and hiring managers). If you are unable to do this effectively, then you will find it difficult to compete and stand out in today’s marketplace.

A strong USP gives you an edge over the competition. It improves your standing with prospective employers and emphasizes what is so special and unique about you. It needs to be at the heart of your job search strategy.

The reality is, you’re always going to be in a competitive situation. There’s always going to be other people that do exactly the same thing that you do with thousands, sometimes even millions of people who provide exactly the same service that you offer.

For example, in the United States, there are over 3 million registered realtors.

How are you going to stand out?

In such a scenario, the most effective way for you to stand out is with a compelling USP that connects with your target audience on an emotional level. And that is why your USP needs to be the centerpiece of your overall job search strategy because a strong USP can act as a powerful magnet that attract recruiters and hiring managers.

You need to showcase your USP throughout your job search. The right USP can be a fundamental part of your branding that makes you more employable. It should be echoed throughout your cover letter, application forms, resume, and in your response to interview questions.

How to Identify Your USP

If you’ve found your dream role, your first step is to identify your USP. Here are the steps you need to take to craft a compelling USP for the role.

Take inventory of your skills, knowledge and experience.

Make a list of your skills, qualifications, experience and any courses or training you’ve taken that are relevant to your dream job. Transferable skills are nice to have, but they are not enough for you to stand out. Do you have any industry-specific experiences that are relevant to the role?

List all of the jobs you’ve had in the past, including temporary, part-time and voluntary positions. Include any traits and qualities that you have successfully cultivated over the course of several years of work and life experiences that are directly relevant to your dream job.

Once you’ve written everything down, analyse the list you’ve created.

What is clearly evident from the list? What specific knowledge do you have? For example, if you’re a digital marketer and have learned how to successfully rank a website from scratch, then you have specialist knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO).

At this point, it is important to keep in mind that your knowledge and expertise and the way you generate results for employers is what is unique about you. So, even if other people have similar qualifications and experience as you, your individual qualities, specialist knowledge and experience are what make you unique and special.

Match up with the functionalities of your dream job

The functionalities of the job in question are the fundamental and crucial job duties undertaken by a person in that position. You need to find out as much information as you can about the intricacies of the role.

For example:

  • What is the job title?
  • Are there different variations of the job title? What are they?
  • Is the role in a company or are you interested in working for yourself?
  • What are the job’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities?
  • What is the core activity? E.g. marketing, customer service, recruitment, sales, etc.?

What problems do you solve?

Always look at things from the employers’ perspective. Hiring a new member of staff is not cheap, so employers want to know one thing about their job candidates: what can you do for them?

This means that you need to articulate exactly how your specialist knowledge and expertise can add value to the role. It is important to frame your USP in such a way that recruiters or hiring managers can immediately see how your skills will benefit them. Aim to connect with the emotions of your target audience by focusing on the emotionally-driven benefits of the problems that you can solve for them. The benefits should make it very clear why your services are essential to your audience and why they would choose you over any other candidate.

Build trust with your accomplishments

Employers love facts and figures – your accomplishments. This is a list of verifiable statements that spell value and emphasize your personal brand and what you have achieved. Employers are looking for achievers. For example, in digital marketing, it’s all about delivering ROI for the employer and candidates who emphasize their accomplishments position themselves way above the competition.

Highlight your track record by showcasing what you’ve achieved in the past. Use compelling “impact statements” to tell your success story and quantify your value to employers so that they can see what’s in it for them by hiring you. By showcasing your achievements in terms of hard-hitting, quantifiable results, you can make yourself shine by showing potential employers what value you bring to the table.

Facts and figures are the essential proof that employers need to see because they demonstrate your ability to generate results. That is the most effective way to build trust in what you have to offer.

Examples include:

  • Increased targeted traffic from Facebook by 250% and tripled fan base from 2,500 to 7,000 within 6 months.
  • Increased targeted traffic from Twitter by 200% and increased follower base from 315 to 3,200 within 3 months.
  • Increased email subscriptions from social media platforms by 250%.
  • Increased ROI by 230% from Google AdWords advertising spend within 3 months.

Sticking to the digital marketer example, calculate how much money you have generated for your clients during your employment.

Your USP now becomes:

Sticking to the digital marketer example, work out the impact you’ve had on your clients’ sites during your employment.

Your USP now becomes:

“Self-driven digital marketer who excels at utilizing multi-digital platforms in traffic generation and has achieved top of page one positions on 75% of competitive search terms.”

Now the employer can clearly see that they will get return on their investment if they hire you.

Join over 3.000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn how to optimize your blog for search engines, find free traffic, and monetize your website.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.