A prior article discussed overarching strategies to differentiate yourself in the marketplace. This article will refine these points to a deeper level. First, you’ll need to assess your attributes in an objective way, not only in today’s world, but 5 or more years out. Why? Because that’s what a hiring organization will do. They want to make sure you’re up to the task now, but also into the future.
Second, design and implement action steps to leverage your strengths and eliminate or diminish your shortcomings. You must present yourself as “the” outstanding candidate, far above all others. To do that you must be compelling at each step of the way, starting with your resume and on through the multiple stages of interviewing. Here are more details:
- Strategically review how you got to your current job and level. What were the key attributes? Can you move them to the next level or create a higher level of competence?
- How are your achievements unique from all others? Which of your skills are in greatest demand? How can you accentuate them in a way to heighten interest in you?
- Create a Career Map from now to your ultimate career goal. What are the steps? How long in each step? What critical skill will you need at each step as you move up?
- Are there leverage points, like a certification or advanced degrees, necessary at a higher level? What about trade associations, publications or professional memberships?
- Identify your target industries or companies and extensively research all aspect of the business. Align the marketplace opportunities to your specific and unique skill sets.
- Create a compelling resume to attain a competitive edge. Focus on measureable results. Place them in bold, on the left side margin, within a bullet-point format.
- Develop a “Matrix” of high potential direct/indirect contacts that can act as a resource to your search efforts. Contact each one personally. Ask for industry insights and direction.
- Penetrate the marketplace with high potential targets, your compelling resume and the Matrix contacts. Identify the best strategy to enter a target company through a contact.
- Develop the “mini-pitches” that influence decision-makers in your favor. Each item on your resume needs a mini-pitch around the issue, action and results of your experience.
- The first response from a company will be by telephone. Develop and practice telephone-screening power interviews based on your research. Ask for the issues they want to solve.
- Practice with a mentor one-on-one interviews focusing on critical issues of the hiring organization. Alternative solutions to their issues are the keys to success.
- Some items in an offer are “negotiable”, while others are not. You’ll be asked your current and expected compensation. Give a range based on your research of industry averages.
- Your “entry strategy” for the new job is critical. A needs analysis will give you a direction. With your boss, develop the expectations, strategies, and benchmarks for the first year.
Your future has always been in your hands. Develop the skills to create the future you want.