Uniqueness in Today's Job Market
By Carole Martin, Interviewfitnesstraining.com
If you have been reading
articles or listening to news reports about the job
market, you realize that you are competing with a large
pool of job seekers. 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. That is, you and
maybe nine or ten other equally qualified people.
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
What are your strengths? Think about previous
performance appraisals - what was said or written about
you? What would your co-workers or ex-bosses say about
List the skills and experiences you have that would be
required in the type of job you are seeking.
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.
Lastly, think of the personal traits that make you
unique. Maybe you never miss deadlines, or perhaps you
are willing to go above and beyond what is asked.
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 can not only identify your
strengths, but that you also have examples and stories
of times when you demonstrated those strengths in the
The next step is to look at the job postings and ads.
When you have several postings, read each word and
sentence carefully. What are they looking for? What
words appear consistently in almost every posting?
Now, take a piece of paper and divide it in half. On one
side of the paper write, "What they are looking for, "
and on the other side, "What I have to offer." Each time
you apply for a position, it will be invaluable for you
to know how you stand against what they are looking for.
Your next step is to add your uniqueness to the "What I
have to offer" list. Some postings will list additional
skills required, which make it easier for you to see
what is important to them. Some postings will be more
vague about what it takes to get the job done and will
require reading between the lines.
In summary, by narrowing your uniqueness to these five
basic points, you can guide the conversation to include
this information. By focusing on five strengths, you
will be prepared with examples of times when you have
used these strengths.
Carole Martin is a thoroughbred interview coach.
Celebrated author, trainer, and mentor, Carole can give
you interviewing tips like no one else can. Her
workbook, "Interview Fitness Training - A Workout With
the Interview Coach," has sold thousands of copies
world-wide and she has just released her latest book,
"Boost Your Interview IQ." Knock'em Dead - Get the Job!