In the business world, a value proposition is a summary of why a consumer should buy a company’s product. It's more or less the same in a job search, except instead of a product, you're promoting your skills as a worker. A value proposition is a summary of why an employer should hire a job seeker.
What is a Value Proposition Letter?
A value proposition letter is a brief statement written by a job seeker to a recruiter or hiring manager.
The statement concisely explains what makes the job seeker a unique job candidate, including skills, strengths, and accomplishments, and how he or she will add value to a company.
A job seeker can use their value proposition throughout the job search. For example, it can be used as a resume summary statement, or to answer particular interview questions about the qualities of the job seeker, such as “tell me about yourself” and “how are you different from the competition?”
Writing and sending out a value proposition letter to prospective employers is a great way to demonstrate what makes you a unique candidate and how you can add value to a company.
The Difference Between a Cover Letter and a Value Proposition Letter
A cover letter typically highlights what you have done in previous positions, whereas a value proposition letter explains what you will do if you are hired for the current position. Thus, a cover letter often focuses on the past, and a value proposition letter focuses on the present and future.
Cover letters and value proposition letters also differ in length. A cover letter is typically three-to-five paragraphs long (about one typed page), whereas a value proposition letter is much shorter—usually no more than 150 words.
Both documents can be useful in the job search process, but it is important to know when to use which document.
When to Use a Cover Letter
When an employer asks for a cover letter. If a job application specifically requests that you send a cover letter with your application, be sure to do so. If you do not follow directions exactly, you risk having your application thrown out.
When you need to explain something on your resume. If there is something on your resume that could give a hiring manager pause, such as an employment gap, your cover letter is your chance to explain these circumstances and emphasize why you are the right person for the position. A value proposition letter does not provide enough space for you to explain past work issues, so write a cover letter when a longer explanation is needed.
When to Use a Value Proposition Letter
When an employer does not specifically ask for a cover letter. When a job application does not specifically request a cover letter, you should still send a letter that explains your qualifications for the position. However, you can choose to send a value proposition letter in place of a cover letter if there are no specific directions.
When you are conducting a targeted direct mail campaign. If you are emailing prospective companies to see if they have any job openings that fit your abilities, consider sending a value proposition letter rather than a cover letter. Busy employers often do not have time to read an entire cover letter, and they will likely appreciate the directness of a value proposition letter. They will also appreciate a letter that emphasizes what you can do for their company.
When to Use a Combination of Both
If you decide to write a cover letter, you can still include aspects of the value proposition letter to make a unique, compelling cover letter. Below are tips on how to write a cover letter that has the attributes of a value proposition letter.
Focus on the present, not the past. Tell employers what you can do for them. Even when you write a paragraph about your experiences, begin or conclude the paragraph with a sentence that explains how you will bring these experiences to the employer’s company. For example, you can say, “I am confident that I can increase brand awareness while cutting your marketing budget by at least 10%, as I did at Company X.”
Emphasize value. Employers want to know what tangible results they will get by hiring you. A great way to demonstrate how you can add value to a company is to include numbers in your letter. Numerical values offer concrete evidence of your skills and accomplishments.
Be concise and direct. You can write a cover letter that resembles a value proposition by avoiding flowery language and going directly to your value as an employee.
How to Write a Value Proposition Letter
Here are tips on how to write a strong value proposition letter that will get you noticed.
- Brainstorm your assets: Make a list of the key skills, experiences, and accomplishments that make you a valuable and unique job candidate. Ask friends and colleagues what they see as your greatest skills and strengths. Look at reference letters and evaluations from past employers to see what skills and strengths people tend to notice in you. From this list, select a few key skills, experiences, or accomplishments that best relate to your target position.
- Use values: Employers want to know what tangible results they will get by hiring you. A great way to demonstrate how you can add value to a company is to include numbers in your letter.
- Focus on the present: Unlike a resume, a value proposition letter should not focus on the past. Tell employers what you can do for them, not what you’ve done for others. Using the present tense rather than the past tense is a great way to stay focused on the present and look towards the future.
- Individualize your letter: Be sure to tailor each value proposition letter to fit the particular company and job position. Make sure your letter addresses what the particular employer wants, and what you have to offer them.
- Include a link: Consider including a link to a blog, LinkedIn page, or other URL that contains your resume in your letter. This will allow an interested employer to access more information about you.
- Be concise: Your letter should be no longer than 100-150 words. Use bullet points to highlight three or four of the key reasons why you are a unique and valuable job candidate. Each bullet point should be no longer than two lines. Place the strongest bullet point at the top of the letter.
- Be bold: Bold particularly strong words or phrases to catch the employer’s eye.
- Pay attention to formatting: Value proposition letters should be typed in a simple, legible font, such as Times New Roman, size 12. Use simple circular or square bullet points—don’t get too fancy.
Tips for Sending Value Proposition Letters
Some job seekers send value proposition letters in place of longer cover letters, although you don't want to do this if an employer asks specifically for a cover letter. Other job seekers mail value proposition letters to companies for which they would like to work, as part of a targeted direct mail campaign.
Even if a company does not list a job opening that fits your skills, a strong value proposition letter may lead the employer to keep you in mind for a later job opening. Sometimes, employers create jobs for particularly strong candidates.
Follow up your letter with a phone call, particularly for the companies in which you are most interested. If you do decide to mail your letters to companies, be sure to print the letter on good stationery, and sign your letter in ink.
Value Proposition Letter Examples #1
4321 East Street
Boulder, CO 80302
August 17, 2020
Pioneer Health Systems
1234 West Street
Denver, CO 80218
Dear Ms. Smith,
Are you looking for an experienced, analytics-driven leader capable of developing and managing your online marketing campaigns while generating revenue?
My skills as a Social Media Manager will enhance your reputation as an accessible, customer-friendly company, thereby increasing customers and revenue.
Here are some of the high-level achievements I can bring to Pioneer Health Systems within one year:
- Increase brand awareness by 20%
- Increase in web page viewers and Facebook and Twitter followers by 35%
- Cut online marketing budget by 10%
I can bring to your company over 10 years of experience of successfully developing online brands. I have included my resume and will call next week to discuss the opportunities I can bring to your company. Thank you.
Karinna Jones (signature hard copy letter)
Value Proposition Letter Example #2
Here is an example of a cold call/direct mail value proposition letter that is sent by a job seeker to a company where they would like to work. This letter itemizes the value the candidate offers the organization.
4321 East Street
Baltimore, MD 21228
August 17, 2020
Chief Talent Office
1234 West Street
Philadelphia, PA 17140
Dear Mr. Basil,
Are you looking for an experienced leader capable of meeting all your hiring requirements while saving you money by improving efficiencies?
As a Director of Recruiting with over 10 years of experience, I will successfully hire ideal candidates for positions in every department through cost-efficient best practices and advertising strategies.
As the Director of Recruiting, I will achieve the following results for Acme Consulting:
- Increase retention rate of hire employees by 20%
- Reduce recruiting budget by 10%
- Implement online applicant tracking system to increase efficiency
As an innovative new startup company, you will benefit from a similarly innovative, experienced leader. I will call next week to discuss the opportunities I can bring to your company. Thank you.
Jonathan Dolan (hard copy letter)