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How To Write Your Positioning Statement

milk duds, jobs marketing, positioning statement, a resume, al ries, position statement, job search, positioning, business, dud, navigation, resume, statements, position, example, marketing, art, explaining If you are a regular blog reader and have used a few of the free job search tools, you may have seen me reference the term “positioning statement”.

I suggest you put it on your resume as well as on your SoloSheet and FlashCard™.  Before I show an example of a positioning statement, let me get you clear on the concept of positioning.

As a young marketing guy starting my career, I bought many books.  Books that would help speed my ascension into marketing lore.  Or at least keep me from looking silly in the big conference room.

One of the books that really led the way for me was written by Al Ries and Jack Trout called Positioning:  The Battle For Your Mind.  Originally penned in 1981, it describes:

“How to be seen and heard in the overcrowded marketplace.”

Does that sound like the job market these days?

So positioning yourself on your resume makes sense.  It’s not just some harebrained task I thought of to keep you busy!

In the book – which you can buy here – the authors walk us through the perils of a busy society.  One that gets millions of advertising messages everyday.  And maybe, just maybe, only opens its ears for messaging that is well planned, well written, and strikes a particular or differentiating chord.

According to the authors “The basic approach to positioning is not to create something new and different, but to manipulate what’s already up there in the mind, to retie the connections that already exist.”

How about a positioning statement example, you say?

Well, one of the most compelling in the book is the re-positioning of Milk Duds.  One of my favorite candies – when I used to eat too much candy, that is.  A product stuck in the mind of consumers as a mere movie house snack.  One eaten by an older, more sophisticated crowd.  10 year olds.

A 10 year old (back then) had a small income – their allowance – and other candy bars were consumed too quickly.  Before the movie even started!  Since chocolate alone melts in your mouth more rapidly, an opportunity existed.  So Milk Duds could become “The Long Lasting Candy Bar” due to its caramel center.  Better value on a short budget and lasts all movie long.

Milk Duds already had that feature, the company just wasn’t talking about it.  It also, by definition, re-positioned the competition as “short lasting”. :-)

So, positioning yourself in job search (on your resume) requires an important task.  To:

Define your candidacy as simply and clearly as possible.

So I suggest nothing more than a 4-6 word statement.  It defines your role, your worth and establishes a place (or position) in the mind of a hiring manager, HR person, recruiter or networking contact.  Think about it as your tag-line (e.g. Avis:  We try harder).

Here are a few resume positioning statement examples for your resume to get you started:

Classically Trained Consumer Marketing Executive

Customer-Driven Service And Parts Technician

Strategy and Data Powered Sales Manager

Brand Building Product Management Professional

Growth-Oriented Chief Financial Officer

Problem Solver and Detail Oriented IT Manager

Each of these statements says something about you.  Something you can and should reinforce in your professional resume (accomplishments) and in your interviews (tangible examples).  It is you and what you will bring to your new role.

So what will you use to define your desired position in this crowded market?


Want to get some live feedback?  Consider a “power hour” with me:

career, coaching, brainstorming, ideas, strategy, positive, confident, action, power hour

Oh, and pass the Milk Duds.

Photo Credit

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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  • Ian R.

    Hi Tim

    I have been following you for almost a year now (here & LinkedIn). I am a recent undergrad; BA with a focus in business. I wasn’t sure your methods would work for me since the bulk of my experience is as an environmental services employee (janitor), but thought I would give it a shot anyway.

    Focused Environmental Services Professional

    • Ian R.

       Not sure why it formatted that way.

      Quality Focused Environmental Services Professional

  • Jaffecd

    Hi Tim,

    Would love your feedback on my positioning statement: Forward Thinking Large Corporate Treasury Professional

  • Jaffecd

    Hi Tim,

    Would love your feedback on my positioning statement: Forward Thinking Large Corporate Treasury Professional

  • Jaffecd

    I should also let you know where my experience lies so that you can give me more suggestions.  I have worked in the banking industry for the past 13 years. For the first 7 years, I was a Relationship Manager and Cash Management specialist. For the last 6 years, I specialized in Cross-Border payments. This position was a combination of sales, account management and product specialist. Here are some of the descriptors in my resume:· 
    Strategic Business, Market and Sales Planning        · Revitalizing Stagnant and
    Declining Sales

    · Account and Portfolio Management                         · Strong analytics and problem
    solving skills

    · Relationship Building and Maintenance                     ·
    Extremely proactive                        

    Excellent communication abilities                              ·
    Motivated / Self-starter       

    Your suggestions are so very welcome!

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CSZ3XBJ3LZULS6VGKV6NGYJ274 Scott

    Passionate and persuasive presenter of problems solved. 

    I am in software presales (sales engineer). 

  • Jake

    I thought for a while and came up with “Committed and Passionate Family Life Specialist.” Is that appropriate? Love the idea of a positioning statement. 

    • http://timsstrategy.com/ TimsStrategy

      Hi Jake – Sorry for a late reply – a few thoughts: 1) Assuming that “family life specialist” is an understood and clear definition of what you do and/or a description of the benefit you offer in your regular role? 2)  Committed and passionate sound pretty good based on the industry (social work?) but how unique are those characteristics?  Are there other characteristics that really help you stand out?  The key with these is to be clear and unique while delivering a statement that you can backup and reinforce throughout your career summary and accomplishments.

      • Jake

        Your questions have made me think more about a successful and unique positioning statement. Part of my confusion is that there are so many positions that can define what I do (my degree is Family & Consumer Sciences, which includes psych, soc, human development, consumer issues, etc). For example, in the entry-level positions I am targeting there are family resource coordinators, project coordinations, child life specialists, social aide workers, case managers, community outreach coordinators, youth counselors, etc. 

        Is the positing statement a seldom-changed personal brand or does it change to match the job description that you are targeting? I feel like my resume is getting turned away simply because, like you said, “committed” and “passionate” are no-brainers in this industry and “family life specialist” is somewhat unclear. For some help, I looked into a couple of my LinkedIn recommendations and others who describe me as proactive and creative, which more clearly helps me stand out in this field…. 

        Any ideas on how to implement a successful positioning statement in a broad industry with multiple roles? Should I tailor it to each position? 

        Thanks for your insight, Tim!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K7G2U7UP6UUN3JTHOZPER5XIHM KenBoyer

    I have a degree in Computer Science and have worked off and on as a software developer for most of my career. However, it has become quite stale, so I have been searching for a way in which to apply my broad background and various talents towards a new career direction. So, what do you think about something like “Inspirational Design Visionary”? OK, it sounds over-the-top, but my career needs some serious CPR, and I’ll go ahead and tackle the design of almost anything (software, electronics, home improvement, guitars, natural languages, church liturgies, business logos, highways, etc.)

    • http://timsstrategy.com Tim Tyrell-Smith

      Hey Ken – thanks for sharing your story and proposed statement. I really dislike “visionary” – seems like a word for others to use about you. But I think you can do something with “Inspirational Design” assuming you can back it up and be ready to show examples. As well as stories about how your design work creates financial value for companies that hire you.

    • http://timsstrategy.com/ TimsStrategy

      Hey Ken – thanks for sharing your story and proposed statement.  I really dislike “visionary” – seems like a word for others to use about you.  But I think you can do something with “Inspirational Design” assuming you can back it up and be ready to show examples.  As well as stories about how your design work creates financial value for companies that hire you.

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