What Contractor CVs too often omit: a value proposition

It’s been brought to my attention that I’ve got a tendency to talk about ‘value proposition’ statements while assuming ContractorUK readers know what on earth I’m talking about!

Well, no more, writes Matt Craven, founder of The CV & Interview Advisors, an expert in helping IT contractors win more work using their CV and LinkedIn profile.

This article will put a bit more flesh on the bones and explain all about value propositions in more detail -- and outline why you need this key statement on your CV, if it doesn’t feature one already.

Where’s best for a value proposition statement?

A value proposition should appear fairly early in a CV or LinkedIn profile, in what most call the Summary section. It is designed to explain what value you are proposing you can offer to your potential clients.

I would recommend that the value proposition statement should follow on from an accurate and unambiguous description of what you are, so start with a simple description of your professional background. For example, ‘An experienced IT-Business Director’ or ‘A Technology Infrastructure Manager’ or ‘A Highly Qualified Mechanical Engineer’.

Getting the reader’s attention is all about explaining that you are an appropriate candidate for their role. If they are looking for an experienced Managing Director from a Telecoms background, then you need to tell them that this is what you are! If you do this successfully, they will be motivated to read on.

What goes into a value proposition statement?

The value proposition is the next part of the Summary. This is a little trickier to get right, but think of it as your over-arching offering; the one thing that you consistently walk into an organisation and do; or the purpose of your professional existence.

For example, my value proposition might be “Creating leading-edge self-marketing collateral such as CVs and LinkedIn profiles that significantly enhance my client’s ability to find a contract.”

Our company’s marketing manager’s value proposition might be “Developing low-cost marketing strategies that deliver superior return on investment from marketing budgets.”

And a senior Finance professional might say, “A track record of embedding robust financial governance across organisations to protect cashflow and profitability.”

How to test a value proposition statement?

Notice how these are more focused on high level activities, rather than more granular or low-level skills. A value proposition is very much aligned with your purpose as a professional rather than just one of many things that you do. The idea is to communicate your single most important skill and to explain how this skill will benefit the organisation. We call this a features and benefits approach. Don’t just explain the skill – spoon-feed to the reader how this skill will benefit them and their organisation. As with all aspects of your CV / LinkedIn profile, it should also be aligned with what you anticipate the organisation will be looking for in terms of skills and outcomes.

Which other work-winning techniques work?

Getting this part of your CV and LinkedIn profile right is just one of the many ways to enhance your chances of winning contract work. For more winning work-themed advice, my company -- The CV & Interview Advisors, is hosting a Contractor UK webinar on Tuesday June 26th at 6.15pm.

This free session will provide you with a raft of highly effective contract-winning strategies. The clue really is in the webinar’s name -- ‘The definitive guide to winning work in the contract market.’ You can find out further details or register here: https://cvandinterviewadvisors.co.uk/cuk26thjune

Wednesday 20th Jun 2018