Job seekers: How do you stand out from the crowd?

What differentiates you from the tens if not hundreds of other people applying for your dream job? What do you stand for that will separate you from the crowd? Have you built an area of specialty that makes you more valuable than the next candidate?

Whether you have a job or you are looking for a job, these questions are critical to your marketability and attractiveness as a candidate and as an employee.

Whether it be PR, Marketing, Law, Engineering or Finance, every industry has people who earn more, land the plum jobs and get ahead quicker. But what do they have that others don’t?

While there are a number of factors that come into play, I will focus on one: standing for something i.e. your personal brand, and more importantly being able to communicate what you stand for.

Ask yourself the following questions
  1. Who are you, what do you stand for and can you clearly explain this?
  2. Do you have a unique selling proposition and can you articulate it in a compelling manner?
  3. What value do you bring to the organization that the other candidates don’t, and can you tell a story around this?

Once you have spent time exploring your answers to these, test them on your friends, your parents, friends of your parents who are in business, in front of a mirror.

Sound odd? Maybe… but I know it works. I’ve been coaching executives and CEOs for 22 years on how to tell their story to the media, how to create messages and how to wrap these up in compelling story, and the only way to truly test it is to say it out loud.

If you want to stick out you’d better be sure to stand for something. The worse possible outcome is that you walk out of that interview and a few days later when they’re creating a shortlist the interviewer says: “Who was that person again, I can’t really remember…”

Finally, once you’ve landed that dream job don’t become complacent. Reinvent yourself every few years, develop new expertise, write a book, develop a new area of specialty, change roles. To this end I love this quote from Jon Krakauer, author of Into the Wild:

So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

What is it you want people to say when they say: “He/she was the candidate that…”? or “Remember Jo, she was the person who…”?

So what do you stand for, and how do you articulate it in a story?

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(2) Readers Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your insights Craig. I totally agree with you that you need to know what makes you unique and what added value you can bring to a role. I thought I was the only person who advised people to verbalise and practice their answers about themselves and what they done. I’ve found if people practice this technique, even if they get thrown by a question in an interview they are able to recall information from their memory and quickly come back because they rehear their answers. Nice to know in this instance that I’m not one of a kind.

    • Susan great to hear there are other people like yourself out there who have tried this and know that it works.
      Cheers Craig

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