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Friday
Dec282012

Help Me Find a Job: What You Must Do to Land a Job in a Hyper-Competitive Market

Here it is in one sentence:

You have to know what it is that sets you apart from the competition - and you need to know how to convey that to the prospective employer. Many candidates fail to do this. And they pay the price.

What's your "unique selling proposition?"

What is it that makes what you have to offer different from, and more valuable than, what other candidates are bringing to the table? (Note: this is not a simple exercise. Don't get discouraged if it takes you a lot of thought and creativity to pinpoint the most effective way to position yourself as a candidate. In fact, you should expect that this will require some effort.)

To uncover your USP, put yourself in the hiring company's shoes and think about your candidacy from their point of view. The fact that you want the job or need the job or think the job is a great career move or really like the company - none of those are unique points, and none will get the company to buy what you're selling.

Why is the company "shopping?" What do they need? What's motivating their buying decision? Once you've identified and defined your competitive advantage, the next step is to distill it into a concise statement. Then you need to be able to back it up.

So essentially, it boils down to this: you need to nail the answer to the question, "Why should I hire you?" Your answer needs to be targeted to the specific employer, it needs to be clear, it needs to be compelling, and you need to be able to substantiate it. Do this, and you'll be way ahead of much of the rest of the pack.

About the author: Rebecca Metschke helps professionals improve their marketability. The author of The Interview Edge, a comprehensive job search and career management guide, she also writes a daily blog posting strategies, tips and advice for those whose careers are in transition. http://blog.theinterviewedge.com

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