Immigration and Professional Transitions: Defining your Value Proposition

2014-2015 Issue 1

Defining Your Value Proposition

“Why should we hire you?”

It’s a question asked in many job interviews, and it can be a tricky one to answer. When it’s likely that several other candidates are being considered for the same position, how do you make yourself stand out in a positive way?

The answer lies in what career advisors refer to as a value proposition. Everyone has one, including you; and it’s best that you figure out what yours is before your next meeting with a potential employer.

“It’s a way to brand yourself, and demonstrate value” says Maia Korotkina, Career and Transition Advisor at the McGill School of Continuing Studies. “Your value proposition is a customized combination of three or four things that clarifies what you have to offer, and sets you apart you from other candidates.”


This can include:

– Your personal background

– Education

– Skills, including languages and technical skills

– Experience, both paid and unpaid

– Accomplishments


“Together, it should demonstrate how you meet the job requirements, as well as the extra ‘oomph’ you’ll bring to the position.”


Example #1:

A candidate has extensive work experience in the field of marketing earned prior to arriving in Canada. As a result, their assets include a first-hand understanding of foreign markets, and they may also possess valuable language skills. “They’ve now positioned their international background as an asset, rather than a shortcoming that must be offset with local work experience,” explains Korotkina.

Example #2:

A candidate who previously worked as a language teacher is now looking to transition into the field of human resources. Their value proposition should include how they fit the specific job requirements while also highlighting their transferable skills. This likely includes implementing institutional framework and policies, supporting individuals, speaking to groups, showing discretion and keeping composure in stressful situations. “These skills are a bonus that employers get from you as opposed to someone with traditional education and experience in HR.”

Now that you’ve clarified what you have to offer, you can approach your job search and networking opportunities more strategically. “Search out specific employers and opportunities that will view you as an asset and make your value proposition shine.”

You’re now focused on a target, which will help you navigate the job market and give you more confidence going forward. Our fictional candidates can search for a company that’s active in foreign markets, or looking for a candidate with classroom experience. “Let them know you exist,” says Korotkina. “Send out the message: I’m available, and this is what I offer.”

Do you have a question for the Career Advising and Transition Services team at McGill’s School of Continuing Studies? We’ll be answering them next month! Leave your inquiry in the comments, and look out for next month’s ‘Immigration and Professional Transitions’ column to see if it’s been chosen.

McGill University School of Continuing Studies’ Career Advising & Transition Services offers a Newcomers Workshop, a Job Search Series, meet-up events and individual advising services. Please visit for upcoming sessions.

This article is available in Spanish on Noticias MontrealInmigración y transición profesional: ¿Cómo definir su propuesta de valor?



2 Responses to “Immigration and Professional Transitions: Defining your Value Proposition”
  1. Sylvia Rodrigues says:

    I am planning to transition into the field of human resources. I have immigrated to Quebec 3 years ago.
    Before my immigration I used to work as an event planner for an American cruise lines for 5 years. I was responsible for all the events onboard the ship and I got used to work and pressure and with a lot of people all the time.
    After 3 months in Montreal I started to work at a bank as teller, then financial representative and now I work at the operation department at the same bank.
    I miss being around people, working and helping them. That is the reason I am planing to migrate to another I am scared to start all over again and not succeed.
    I am graduated in business administration and I was planning to take a graduate certificate in human resources.

    Thank you in advance for you assistance

    • stephanie says:

      Hello Sylvia,

      Thank you for your message. I will email you with further details.

      Stephanie Wereley
      McGill SCS