It all starts with stepping back, reflecting and articulating in simple language what tangible skillset, experience and attributes you have to offer.
You might ask why do I even need to worry about a value proposition, I am not a brand or product on a supermarket shelf. But in essence, at some stage we are all likely to be in a position where we need to introduce ourselves at an event or answer that dreaded question in an interview - tell me about yourself or why should we hire you? Even when putting together your LinkedIn profile and marketing collateral, you will need to introduce yourself and what you have to offer.
So how do you best position yourself to a potential employer without sounding corny and cliché? By being authentic and taking ownership of what you are pitching. If you are delivering a proposition that does not ring true or is not in line with your key values and interests, most individuals will see through it pretty quickly. And there will be some situations, where this might be hard as it will require you to be strategic in selecting those skills and experiences that best align to the opportunity.
While a pitch should never be delivered in auto pilot mode, you can prepare and practice so that when you do the real thing, it comes across as natural and unforced. You will need to speak with conviction and build a quick connection with your audience. In reality, you might only have about 20 seconds to do this. We also know that most people have a very short attention span so go for key points rather than your whole life story.
Here some starters to assist in putting a communication together -
What do you do?
Start with the present and a short introduction - are you a law graduate studying Practical Legal Training or a penultimate law student or have you recently completed Practical Legal Training and are about to be admitted to practice? Are you a later lawyer with a wealth of experience behind you?
What are your interest areas in law?
Are they in social justice working in a community legal centre or working for a law firm specializing in family law or criminal law or a Government body representing consumer interests or are they broad and varied? Show where your interest has stemmed from and where it has led you to. The more you speak from your heart, the more it will resonate.
Think about your strengths
Ask yourself what do I do well? What would my work colleagues, peers and friends say about my strengths? A quick thinker, a connector, a great problem solver, a strong leader, an innovator, etc. Now connect your strengths to your best evidence to support your skills. In which contexts have you drawn on these skills, how did you demonstrate these skills, what was the outcome?
Link your skills to your key achievements
These need to be recent and relevant to your audience. They also need impact as in what was the result of this idea, proposal, initiative, report, recommendation. For example, I am most proud of a report that I assisted in putting together than was instrumental in a policy change in tenant law; I presented an idea that improved the way customer issues were escalated resulting in a 30% reduction in turnaround time.
Put it all together, refine, practice, then put your proposition to the test and assess if it hit the mark.