09/28/2012 03:25 pm ET Updated Nov 28, 2012

Why Should Anyone Choose You Over the Competition?

What are you giving people they can't get anywhere else?

One of the career consultants I admire most said she doesn't read books of advice because she's afraid of stealing someone else's idea unintentionally. Fascinating. Suddenly I'm worried I've quoted her correctly. Ironic?

Part of my job is to stay current on the world of work -- whether that's reading what someone else has written, interviewing that person for the show, or both. I take in so much of what other people say I sometimes wonder if there's anything left for me to add. That's why, at least here, I share so much of my personal work history. I may not remember every detail of that accurately, but at least it's mine. I sprinkle my experience over someone else's advice and -- voilà! -- a chord is struck in your occupational daydream. That's the goal.

That's also something I think we have in common: the hope we're bringing something special to our jobs, that each of us is one of a kind. It's fun to design a lively afternoon for our daycare charges, troubleshoot a stubborn transmission problem, even soothe an irate cell-phone customer... especially when we're told how spectacular our performance is.

So the task is to give people our best, and show them appreciation for theirs.

It may sound corny to tell your accountant he brings so much order to your bookkeeping chaos you want to frame one of his spreadsheets. But I bet he won't mind!