Friday, January 20, 2006

Finding Your Uniqueness in Today's Job Market


It is typical of the job market that the number of  people seeking jobs usually outnumbers the jobs that are available.

As a job seeker, you realize that you are competing against the odds.

The question is,

"How can you make yourself stand out when there are so many other candidates looking at the same job?"

The answer is to

"focus" -- focus on what makes you unique.


Let’s assume that you have an outstanding resume and that you make it to the top of the stack of resumes of people to be called for an interview. You, and maybe nine or ten other equally qualified people for the position.


Because companies have so many candidates to choose from, they are interviewing more people so that they can select the "best." When you are lucky enough to be invited to an interview, it is essential that you be ready to sell yourself, to let the interviewers know what makes you unique, what added value you can bring to the position--in other words, why you are the best person for the job.


By doing some basic preparation, you can determine your uniqueness and where you should focus your attention. The first step in this process is to identify your five strengths. These strengths are the areas where you do very well. Never ever feel that you don't have strengths. Everyone has strengths. You need not be the topper or among the top students of the class to have strengths. Every person is inherently unique and will have qualities that make her / him different from others.


This may take some thought on your part. What are your strengths?


* Think about previous performances What was said or written about you? What would your classmates or friends say about you?

List the skills and experiences you have that would be required in the type of job you are seeking. For instance, a technical job would focus on programs, languages, and platforms, etc.


* Give some thought to those skills in which you excel, those that are referred to as the "soft skills." These skills can be viewed as transferable – you can take them with you to any job you hold. Examples of these skills are your communication and people skills, or your time-management or your ability to build strong relationships.


* Lastly, think of the personal traits that make you unique. Maybe you never miss deadlines, or perhaps you are willing to do above and beyond what is asked, or perhaps you have a great attitude.


When you have identified your five strengths, make a list of those strengths and some examples of when those strengths have helped you achieve results on the job. It will be essential that you cannot only identify your strengths, but that you also have examples and stories of times when you demonstrated those strengths in the past.


By focusing on five strengths, you will be prepared with examples of times when you have used these strengths.

Whenever possible, give examples to show how you have "been there and done that," and can do it again. It will be necessary to demonstrate that you have what it takes, and then some, to be unique in this market.


When you walk out of that interview room, your interviewers may not remember all five of your points; but if they remember even two of the points that make you unique, you will be ahead of the crowd.



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