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Shorten Your Job Search by Writing a Compelling Value Proposition Letter — Part 1

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Value Proposition Letter

This is part one of a two-part series on writing a compelling value proposition letter. 

There are many activities involved in job searching, such as networking, having an active result-oriented LinkedIn profile and resume, applying to jobs, interviewing, etc., to name a few. Aside from these job search activities, have you considered sending an unsolicited value proposition letter to potential employers?

What I am proposing is a networking technique that you should find comfortable. It is especially effective if you work in a niche industry (e.g., biofuels, pet insurance, medical tourism, hydroponic farming) where there are few players or if you possess a set of highly sought-after skills (e.g., cloud computing, network security, auditing, fluency in multiple languages).  

A value proposition letter’s objective is to show how your skills and experience can solve, or at least be part of solving, an employer’s problem(s) (READ: pain points).

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“Yes, in next week’s column.” (Answer to the question you are now asking yourself, “Will I be providing examples of a value proposition letter?”)

“Yes, actually, several.” (Answer to, ” Have you ever hired someone who sent you an unsolicited value proposition letter?“)

In order to write a value proposition letter that will resonate with your target companies, begin by doing some research while asking yourself, “What are some of the possible problems they are facing? How can I be of assistance in solving them?” For example, is it your belief that long delivery times are causing an e-commerce site you visited to lose customers to Amazon? As a supply chain analyst with 15 years of experience, how would you address this issue?

Writing a value proposition letter requires using your right brain, where your emotions, intuition, and creativity reside. This is not a fill-in-the-blanks exercise. It is essential that your letter appears human-written, something that is becoming increasingly rare with AI technology becoming more easily available. It is you, not AI technology, who is offering your skills, knowledge, and experience to help an employer address pain points they might be experiencing, according to your best guess.

Something to note; your “pain point guess” guess may point out something the company’s leadership team has never considered. In my above example, it is possible the company’s leadership team may not have thought their long delivery times discourage potential customers from purchasing their products. (Do they look at their cart abandonment rate?)

The most common pain points employers face today are:

  • Keeping and expanding market share.
  • Enhancing profitability.
  • Increasing productivity and efficiency.
  • Keeping up with and implementing technological advancements.
  • Supply chain issues causing order fulfillment issues.
  • Managing employee benefits and payroll costs.
  • Recruiting and retaining qualified employees with the right mindset and attitude.

If you have the skills and experience (READ: a proven track record) to address any of the above-mentioned pain points, then most employers will view you as gold.

With all the talk about a recession on the horizon, how can your skills and experience help employers weather the predicted economic slump?

Once you have identified your targeted employer’s potential pain points, you can start crafting your value proposition letter to sell your skills and experience to address those pain points.

There are four elements to a pain letter.

  1. Hook
  2. The employer’s pain point, which is either explicit or you believe exists.
  3. Persuasively describe how your skills and experience can address the employer’s pain point.
  4. Closing

It is essential to show that you understand the company’s goals and values. For instance, not every company is concerned with increasing its market share. Some companies are more focused on becoming environmentally sustainable or being seen as socially conscious. With this understanding, you will be on point explaining, confidently, how your combination of skills, experience, and knowledge can help the company achieve its goals.

Also important is being specific! Use numbers to quantify your achievements and results. Your opinion has no place in a value proposition letter. Likewise, your opinion has no place in your job search. At all times, you need to provide a solid, undeniable reason why you would be a value add to an employer, not your opinions of yourself, which is what most job seekers do. Numbers, the language of business, helps employers see your impact in your previous roles.

TIP: Throughout your job search, you do not want employers struggling to figure out what value you can add to their organization, hence why they should hire you. Therefore, use quantitative numbers throughout your LinkedIn profile, resume, cover letter and when interviewing… and in your value proposition letter.

A compelling value proposition letter convincingly conveys to potential employers how you would be a value add to their company. In my next column, I will provide examples of a value proposition letter, as promised earlier. In the meantime, compile a list of employers you would like to work for (Why not go one step further and find the contact information of those most likely to make hiring decisions, such as managers, directors, and C-suite executives?), their possible pain points, and how your skills and experience can ease their pain.

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Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers “unsweetened” job search advice. You can send Nick your questions to artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

 

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A Game-Changing Factor to Job Search: Your Ability to Make Human Connections

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human connections

This column will be a departure from my usual job-searching topics to focus on something crucial to a successful job search and your career momentum, especially when networking and interviewing: making human connections.

“The most important things in life are the connections you make with others.” – Tom Ford, American fashion designer.

Genuine human connections lead to positive energy exchange and trust building. Since most job search activities involve interacting with people, projecting positive energy and being seen as trustworthy greatly benefits you.

According to American psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, love and belonging are the most essential needs we must fulfill, besides food, water, and safety. We are more fulfilled when our needs for love and belonging are met.

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We live busy lives, juggling work, family responsibilities, self-care, side hustles, and more. Therefore, often our social connections fall by the wayside. You might not think connecting with others is important, but it is. Social connections can lower anxiety and depression, help regulate emotions, increase self-esteem and empathy, and improve your immune system. These are huge pluses when job hunting.

Sadly, we live in a time when there is a great deal of disconnection. While technology gives the appearance we are more connected than ever, the screens around us disconnect us from nature, ourselves, and those around us. Rather than using technology, especially social media, to enhance our human connections, we use it to replace them.

Being brave, proactive, and taking chances is often required to make human connections. Striking up a conversation with a stranger can be intimidating, requiring you to step out of your comfort zone. Your lowest-hanging fruit is to reconnect with current friends and family. Then venture out and try new activities, such as joining a club or taking classes, to meet people to build a relationship with.

Putting yourself out there will ultimately pay off in the form of a rewarding feeling that comes from building human connections. Here are six simple ways you can create human connections.

 

  1. Surround yourself with people with shared interests.

It is easy to bond with people who share your interests and hobbies. Identifying commonalities between your interviewer and yourself is the most straightforward way to bond with your interviewer, which will give you a competitive advantage.

Do you love reading? Join a local book club. Are you a runner? Join a running club. Go where people who share your interests and beliefs are, such as clubs, volunteering, sports, taking classes, church, or sitting on an advisory board.

 

  1. Overcome your resistance.

Building relationships is often intimidating because of a natural fear of rejection. However, to make human connections, you must overcome your limiting beliefs causing your resistance to change, and embrace situations outside your comfort zone.

The best way I know how to lower your anxiety when meeting new people is to remember showing interest is a massive gesture to anyone you meet. Therefore ask open-ended questions about the other person and make your discussion all about them.

TIP: When meeting someone for the first time, ask yourself, “How can I help this person?”

 

  1. Smile and give off a positive attitude.

People prefer positive emotions to negative ones when forming a social connection; therefore, first impressions count.

A positive demeanor and a genuine smile will naturally draw people to you. Before spending time with others, I find doing a gratitude exercise and taking a few minutes to reflect on the good things in my life helpful in creating a positive attitude.

Putting your best self forward will maximize your chances of being a people magnet.

 

  1. Open up.

If you want to make friends more easily, allow yourself to be more vulnerable with others. This does not mean dropping all filters or boundaries. Too much, too soon, can put people off. On the other hand, you do not want to be an overly edited version of yourself and thus come across as not being authentic.

People can sense whether or not someone is genuine, so let them see the most authentic version of you. Your vulnerability will also prompt them to feel comfortable around you and connect with you on a deeper level.

 

  1. Do not hide behind your phone.

In social situations where you are uncomfortable, hiding behind your phone is easy, preventing you from making real-life connections.

Being on your phone during a party or networking event makes you less approachable. Whenever you are out, focus on being present and engaging with the people around you.

 

  1. Stay in touch.

Human connections need to be nurtured. Regular contact deepens your connections.

If you make a new friend, keep in touch with them and grow your friendship. Likewise, maintain your existing relationships with friends, family, and colleagues by keeping in touch.

Making and maintaining human connections is an activity you should prioritize if for no other reason than the fact that opportunities (e.g., jobs, friendships, love) exist all around you; the only caveat is they are connected to people. Therefore, the more people you are connected to, the more opportunities you will be exposed to.

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Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers “unsweetened” job search advice. You can send Nick your questions to artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

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First Citizens acquires troubled Silicon Valley Bank – CP24

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North Carolina-based First Citizens will buy Silicon Valley Bank, the tech industry-focused financial institution that collapsed earlier this month, rattling the banking industry and sending shockwaves around the world.

The deal could reassure investors at a time of shaken confidence in banks, though the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and other regulators had already taken extraordinary steps to head off a wider banking crisis by guaranteeing that depositors in SVB and another failed U.S. bank would be able to access all of their money.

Customers of SVB will automatically become customers of First Citizens, which is headquartered in Raleigh. The 17 former branches of SVB will open as First Citizens branches Monday, the FDIC said.

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European shares opened higher Monday, with German lender Commerzbank AG up 2.4% and BNP Paribas up 1.2%.

Investors worry that other banks also may crumble under the pressure of higher interest rates. On Friday, much of the focus was on Deutsche Bank, whose stock tumbled 8.5% in Germany, though it was back up about 3.6% in early trading Monday. Earlier this month, shares of and faith in Swiss bank Credit Suisse fell so much that regulators brokered a takeover of by rival UBS.

In the U.S., SVB, based in Santa Clara, California, collapsed March 10 after depositors rushed to withdraw money amid fears about the bank’s health. It was the second-largest bank collapse in U.S. history after the 2008 failure of Washington Mutual. Two days later, New York-based Signature Bank was seized by regulators in the third-largest bank failure in the U.S.

In both cases, the government agreed to cover deposits, even those that exceeded the federally insured limit of $250,000, so depositors were able to access their money.

New York Community Bank agreed to buy a significant chunk of Signature Bank in a $2.7 billion deal a week ago, but the search for a buyer for SVB took longer.

The sale announced late Sunday involves the sale of all deposits and loans of SVB to First-Citizens Bank and Trust Co., the FDIC said.

The acquisition gives the FDIC shares in First Citizens worth $500 million. Both the FDIC and First Citizens will share in losses and the potential recovery on loans included in a loss-share agreement, the FDIC said.

First Citizens Bank was founded in 1898 and says it has more than $100 billion in total assets, with more than 500 branches in 21 states as well as a nationwide bank. It reported net profit of $243 million in the last quarter. It is one of the top 20 U.S. banks and says it is the largest family-controlled bank in the country.

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Shoppers Drug Mart moves away from medical cannabis, will send patients to Avicanna – CTV News

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TORONTO –

Shoppers Drug Mart Inc. is moving away from its medical cannabis distribution business and preparing to transfer patients to a platform run by biopharmaceutical company Avicanna Inc.

The pharmacy chain owned by Loblaw Companies Ltd. announced the shift Tuesday, but did not say what prompted the change or how much money Toronto-based Avicanna is paying for Shoppers to refer patients to its MyMedi.ca platform.

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“We are grateful for the trust placed in us by our medical cannabis patients over the past few years, and are confident we’ve found the right partner in Avicanna to continue to support them,” said Jeff Leger, Shoppers’ president, in a statement.

His company will start to send customers to Avicanna’s platform in early May, with all of the patients set to be off-loaded from Shoppers’ medical pot service by the end of July. Customers will be able to place orders on Shoppers’ website through the transition period.

Avicanna said it will offer a similar range of products including various formats, brands and “competitive pricing.” Like Shoppers, its online medical portal will strive to educate customers around harm reduction and provide specialty services for distinct patient groups like veterans.

Shoppers first launched its medical cannabis business in Ontario in January 2019, months after recreational pot was legalized in Canada (medical pot was legalized in Canada in 2001) at a time when many predicted the weed sector would be booming in the coming years.

The sector has instead struggled with profitability and as high numbers of recreational cannabis shops cluster in several cities, many retailers and licensed producers have had to drop their prices to stay competitive.

However, Shoppers said it racked up tens of thousands of patients in its four years of existence, providing them with access to cannabis from more than 30 brands including Aphria Inc., Hexo Corp.’s Redecan and the Green Organic Dutchman.

Shoppers’ medical cannabis patients were required to obtain a prescription from a licensed health care provider such as a doctor to begin ordering pot from the company, which shipped orders to their homes.

But the company was unhappy with how medical pot regulations limited its model. Shoppers claimed Tuesday that medical cannabis remains the only medication that is not dispensed in pharmacies.

“As we move away from medical cannabis distribution, we remain firm in our belief that this medication should be dispensed in pharmacies like all others and will continue our advocacy to that end,” said Leger.

Avicanna’s statement did not outline its feelings on the matters, but its chief executive said it was “motivated” to “put our full efforts toward advancing medical cannabis and its incorporation into the standard of care.”

“We are thankful to be selected as the partner for this transition and look forward to introducing MyMedi.ca, supporting patients and providing them with continuity of care,” said Avicanna chief executive Aras Azadian in a statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2023

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