Career Development ~ Your Professional DNA

An organization’s success is built upon visibility – making their culture, products, and services stand out in an oversaturated marketplace.

Your success is no different. In our executive recruiting practice, we are constantly reminding candidates to clearly identify their value proposition – what makes them stand out in a crowded (and noisy) job seeker marketplace.

We’ve developed a simple way to help you STAND OUT…
Your Professional DNA

What is your Professional DNA? It is your Drive. Niche. Accomplishments. This simple concept allows all stakeholders to quickly articulate what differentiates them from the competition. The biggest challenge for most is not in identifying and developing their Professional DNA, but delivering it in a clear, memorable, and truly unique message.

No two professionals are the same. However, when you listen to them articulate their message, they sure sound the same! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard “I am a hard worker” – as if someone would admit they were lazy. Or “I am an innovative leader who likes to problem-solve” – while failing to give any tangible examples of successful leadership initiatives.

Leveraging a concise, evidence-based Professional DNA will eliminate ambiguity and showcase your unique value proposition.


Everyone is motivated by different things. For some people it is career progression, working for a cause, or good old-fashioned money. Likewise, some companies are driven by their reputation for offering upward mobility, civic-mindedness, or stellar salaries. However, it’s important to determine what drives YOU to find the right company to meet your needs. Are you looking for a company known for hiring people who seek a work/life balance or turning out incredibly innovative products, while working 70 hours/week? Knowing what drives your definition of success and happiness will steer you in the right direction when researching target companies.


We hear a lot of “hype” about branding and culture these days. While both are important, it’s tough to sell something that isn’t quite defined. For candidates, it is incumbent upon you to define the unique characteristics of your professional experience or business acumen to truly set yourself apart. This is your niche and it refers to the common thread that runs through your most significant achievements. This unique value proposition is what will distinguish you from your peers. Likewise, companies must also define their niche. They must establish the kind of environment, culture, industry, products or geography that sets them apart from the competition.


Now that we have identified Drive and Niche, it is time to take stock of your successes. While Niche may refer to the environment, location, professional uniqueness or the situation in which you achieved your accomplishments, this final category refers to your specific achievements. They should be detailed and measurable. They will serve as a comparison to your peers who did not accomplish these same results. Although it may appear that these successes are “par for the course”, keep in mind that no one else has experienced the exact same results with the same approach and perspective that you bring to the table. Whether they are related to sales, human capital, systems or acquisitions, your accomplishments define what sets you apart as a professional in your field.

The number of professionals who are looking to make a job change continues to climb. Building visibility and clarity for themselves are paramount to landing their next opportunity. Determining your Professional DNA, coupled with your ability to support these claims with hard examples and actions, will make your career development and advancement more successful.

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