There’s a strong parallel between assessing a company’s competitor and guaging your individual competition in the marketplace for a higher level job. In both cases you’re looking to advance your position. Both will have a history of measureable results. Both want the rewards for outstanding performance. And both want to strive to be the best among equals.
So how do you assess your personal competitive advantages. Here are some fundamental questions that are essential to ask:
- What are your core competencies that are unique compared to your competitors? Everyone has something that they can do better than most. That may be your competitive advantage.
- What can competitors replicate that you do at an outstanding level? Some competencies are easily copied. Other competencies can’t be easily replicated. Which ones are unique?
- What can you replicate that your competitors do well, and do it better? Every function has core skills. Which of your skills or experience are at the ultimate level of performance?
- What are your unique characteritics or results that competitors cannot replicate? This is a key question as it may be the differentiator for which hiring organizations are looking.
- What your current internal customers say about you are probably what future customers are looking for in a candidate. Use the information wisely.
- What do you do to produce a superior product, service or performance? How you achieve high performance results is critical. Can you achieve similar results somewhere else?
- How many subordinates have you mentored to higher level positons? This tells the hiring manager a lot about your supervisory skills or even if your concerned about others.
- Identify the three accomplishments that you are the most proud? This list should parallel what the hiring organization is looking for. Show that you can produce for them.
The next step is to ask yourself:
- How do you optimize your unique characteristics?
- How do you minimize a “negative” in your background or change it to a positive?
- How do you best “market” your unique competencies in a way to leverage your candidacy?
- How do you demonstrate leadership, management and team skills qualities?
You have four opportunities to impress a hiring organization: Your resume, interviews, references and your overall demeanor and style. You need a tailor designed strategy for each job for which you are applying, beginning with a resume that matches the key requirements on the position description. Each successful step in the process will lead to the next step, so preparation becomes the difference between you and your competitors for that position.
You can have the competitive advantage over all others if you understand your potential as a unique contributor to the needs of the hiring manager. Self-awareness, research and preparation are the keys to success in the marketplace.
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