Your employer value proposition matters hugely. However, you might also have to contend with this attitude: “What have you done for us lately?” That’s true whether you’re conducting a job search or preparing for a performance review. You need to do what it takes to stand out in the eyes of employers.
You probably recognize the saying above. It has been around for decades, and sources attribute it to different individuals. I particularly like this version by tennis great Arthur Ashe:
“I tell myself that it is crap about how you’re only as good as your last game. I tell myself that my record stands. I tell myself there is too much emphasis on winning. But I must watch that I am not just telling myself these things to explain my losing lately or to excuse myself from not trying hard enough.”
In other words, avoid making excuses for weak performance in your job or career. Your employer value record needs to stand on solid ground. Furthermore, it must tell a compelling story about why the employer should hire or retain/promote you.
Virtually every business needs a competitive advantage if it expects to succeed. It must offer value its target customers can use–and do it in a way that prompts them to invest hard-earned cash in the product or service.
Your long-term career success also depends on competitive advantage, unless you’re the only person in the world who fits a position’s requirements (unlikely). Employer value represents a critical piece of your advantage. Why is that?
As an individual, you are unique in many ways. However, in the work environment, that uniqueness must link to your performance–whether you’re entry-level or a senior executive. Whatever the employer’s expectations are, you have to offer results that meet or exceed them while also putting you ahead of your competition.
What’s more, you can’t rest on your laurels. You don’t have to hit a home run every time, but remember that employers tend to look at what you’ve done lately. You must keep building a record of accomplishments that consistently deliver clear employer value.
So, if someone says to you, “You’re only as good as your last ______________” or asks what you’ve done lately, you can counter with an employer value story that stops them in their tracks!
You can stand out–it takes awareness, effort and a focus on employer value, but you won’t regret making the commitment. Consider it an investment in your ongoing career success.