A record 92,269,000 Americans 16 and older did not participate in the labor force in August, 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What does that number mean for you? It means there are a heck of a lot of people looking for work, some of them looking for the same career-advancing job that you are.
So how do you distinguish yourself? There are 5 basic points that make you one of the top candidates for the job you want next. Each of these points need to be compelling, so if you can’t quantify them, neither can a hiring organization and you’ll come in second best.
What are hiring organizations looking for in a compelling candidate? Here are the 5 reasons that hiring organizations chose one candidate over all others:
1. PAST TRACK: Your function, organizational level, responsibilities, skills, industry, and experiences must all come close to paralleling what the hiring manager is looking for. Those who come the closest will have the best chance of being considered. Conversely, the further from the “perfect model”, the lesser the chance of consideration.
2. RESULTS: You can have all of the elements of past performance, but if you can’t demonstrate that you achieve results, you won’t get very far. The best results are quantifiable with numbers, i.e., 10% increase in productivity in 12 months. The least impactful are descriptive words that are generic, i.e., reduced cost of goods over time.
3. DIFFERENTIATION: Your competition for the same job will all have a similar background. Usually 5 to 10 finalists will be screened. The top 2 or 3 will have something special that the others don’t have and will be interviewed. The critical expertise that the hiring manager needs will most likely win out, if the fit and longer term potential is apparent.
4. VALUE: The questions from the hiring manager looking for value will be: Who can solve the immediate issues that are causing me pain? Who is going to create the greatest value for me short and long term? Who can potentially take my place as I move up the ladder? Who can provide the leadership I need to strategically move the organization forward?
5. FIT: Only someone who can more smoothly fit into the organization and contribute to its success will be the finalist candidate. A problem child will not make it. There is a big difference between a “team player” and an “individual contributor”. Which one are you and what does the hiring organization need?
As a potential candidate, you’ll need to pass through at least 3 hurdles in a compelling way: Your resume, the initial phone screening interview, the face-to-face interviews with the key decision makers. Do you present yourself in a persuasive way? You need to be able to articulate your strengths and value to the organization that positions you as the top candidate.
If you’re not compelling in presenting yourself to a hiring organization, someone else will.
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