How many times have you heard it stated that you should just “follow your passion” or “do what you love” and you’ll never have to work another day in your life? While this sounds wonderful, I don’t think it’s very realistic. The flaw in the statement above is that passion alone will not usually result in a great (or monetarily satisfying) career. For example, I may have a passion for golf, but very few people ever make a living as professional golfers. Yes, I could work at a golf course, but getting paid to play is completely different—if I don’t have an extremely effective technique, I will not be able to compete at the level required to earn a living.

What’s missing from the mantra “follow your passion” is the other side of the equation. Passion is important, but we also have to have (or gain) the technical skills, training, education and experience that’s required to get the job done. And, going further, I would suggest that it’s the unique combination of the two—having the passion for something and the skills to do it—that make up the winning formula.Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 10.13.00 AM

To get started, think about how you’d answer the question, “why should we hire you?” Use your answers to the following questions to help build your case:

  • What am I really good at doing?
  • What am I passionate about (and why)?
  • What is unique about what I have to offer?

Here’s an example of how one person summed up their responses to the above questions:

  • I help health care organizations transform and integrate their technology systems, which leads to higher quality patient care and service. (What I am good at)
  • Seeing our clients achieve higher levels of service to patients and better financial results is really exciting to me. (What I am passionate about)
  • I can effectively bridge patient care and staff needs with the detailed technology requirements to develop streamlined solutions. (What is unique about me)

The good news is that if you can articulate answers to the above, you will find yourself well ahead of the pack. Create a unique definition of your value and you will find it will be easier to “sell” yourself into your next great job.

For more ideas and things to think about on this topic of unique value, check out this article.