Value - for a relatively abstract concept it plays a huge role in whether you are going to get a job.
What employees want to know is whether by investing in you - either by training you up or simply paying your wages - you're going to add value to their company or not. It is as simple as that, so keep this in mind when creating a covering letter or going into an interview.
Anyone who wants to stand out in a field of candidates just needs to show how they will add value to the organisation - either by the amount of extra revenue they will bring to the firm, a fresh approach to the industry or some other significant positive. To do this you will need to maximise your value in terms of what you have done, what you are doing and what you plan to do.
One of the first rules of the jobs market is to not be shy about showing off your accomplishments. Try not to seem like you are bragging though; just focus on clearly explaining the highlights of your career or the most relevant aspects at least. If you do not tell them, they may never know. Also, do not only give your previous job titles; explain the key responsibilities you had in that position.
When you are describing a great moment from your past, make sure to show how it related to the company's 'bottom line' if you can, or perhaps to efficiency savings or service improvements if this is more appropriate. You will demonstrate your value much better if you put your work in the context of the wider business or industry as a whole.
Another crucial point relating to your career up to now is to use all of your experience as evidence of your talents. Do not just say that you are a great problem solver; provide the employer with an example of when you have shown this skill. Maybe you are very proud of your time management ability - after all, time is money, so the firm could be very interested if you can prove your case.
While your hobbies and interests may not come up, it is still worth thinking about how your experiences in sport or other challenges helped you become the person you are today.
Whether you are writing a covering letter or preparing for an interview, it is absolutely essential to think about what the company is asking for. Consider the job specification and work out how your skills fit with the description. Make sure you listen properly to interviewer's questions before answering, too - they will not ask any questions for no reason, so think about what they are really asking each time.
Gaining additional qualifications is a great way to get ahead of the pack, but sometimes you will be up against people who have the same skillset - on paper - as you, so you must find another way to excel. One great method is to know your industry and the company inside out, as this shows that you are not just a good candidate for this particular job, but generally a knowledgeable voice that the firm would benefit from employing.
This broad knowledge is not easy to gain and requires you to immerse yourself in an industry - do not just read a bit about it before the interview, keep up with all the latest news and views. The result is that you may come up with innovative or practical suggestions on how operations can be improved - a great way to show your personal value.
When it comes to the future, your employer will want to believe that you are in it for the long term. Tell them where you want to be in five and ten years time - referencing real positions in the industry - and take into account the company culture, as they will want to know that you will fit in.
An employer will want to see your ambition at all times, so tell them what you want to do and where you want to go. If they have any doubts about your experience then you can allay these fears by explaining how you are going to remedy gaps in your skillset. Be innovative about how you might do this, but realistic too - all a company wants is to trust that you will add value, not question whether you can deliver.