How to distinguish yourself from competitors in your search for a new job

An effective approach to stand out in a company’s employee search is to prove you are a goal-oriented employee. In this respect, your most important forum is the face-to-face interview.

It always is a good idea to sell yourself as a goal-oriented employee because employers are goal-oriented themselves. One of their goals is to find the best-qualified people who can make an immediate contribution to the company’s bottom line. They also have specific objectives for company growth, and are looking for people who will fit easily into the organization and perform capably with a minimal amount of downtime acclimating to the new work routine.

The interview is the make-or-break point in your job hunt.

If you do not make an outstanding impression, you will not be offered the job. If you demonstrate your ability to set and meet goals, no matter what the time constraints, you will help distinguish yourself from the six or more other job seekers who are being seriously considered for the same position.

How can you accomplish this objective? Listen for clues from the employer about the needs of the company. When it is your turn to respond, give examples from previous jobs that show your ability to formulate and implement plans that were directly tied to the company’s goals for the future. Be factual in your statements and avoid exaggeration.

Keep in mind that you are at the interview to discuss the prospective employer’s objectives, not your own personal goals. The interviewing executive is “buying” your services needed for the company, and is interested in how well you can meet the company’s objectives. If you insist on talking about your personal requirements, you most likely will lose the interviewer’s attention and bring the session to a premature end. In other words, check the ego at the door, and to do more listening than talking.

How to “sell” yourself

By presenting specific examples of how you helped former employers increase profitability, market share and/or visibility in the marketplace, your resume should emphasize how you achieved your former employers’ goals rather than your own. You should cite case histories with statistics to prove your statements. No resume alone will win you the job — that only can be done through the interview — but follow the same approach in your verbal presentation. You should always prefer to discuss your accomplishments rather than rely on the written word. Do not offer your resume unless it is requested, but prepare it well and have it ready.

Employers today need to hire employees who have the ability to think and plan into the future. Due to increasing worldwide competition, companies need to find new ways of distinguishing themselves. If you approach the interview by planning a strategy which complements this trend, you will be on target.

The best chance you will have to prove your abilities is at the interview. Do everything in your power to line up as many interviews as possible. Never rule out any opportunity to meet with an employer, even if it concerns an industry in which you have never worked. Most likely, your functional skills are transferable into a variety of industries.

A Face-to-face without a job opening

If an employer is only willing to meet with you for a short duration and says he or she does not have any specific job openings, accept without hesitation and count your lucky stars! Many job openings are created on the spot, in the interview, if the employer is impressed with your capabilities and likes you. As a rule, many hiring managers will “create” a job for any individual who seems like a “stand-out” candidate. Few companies will talk with you if they do not have a job possibility. However, they often will not discuss this fact because they do not want to be put in the position of having to reject you.

During the interview, if you are still told that there are no job openings at the company, ask the hiring executive for advice on how you should proceed with your job search. Ask if he or she could give you the names of contacts at companies in your field. More often than not, you will be given names of people to contact because the employer will be flattered that you asked for assistance.

A Challenger Case Study

A discharged executive had been told during the course of an interview that the company still did not have any job openings. He was, however, given the names of contacts at four companies.

The job seeker thanked the employer as he left the interview, but decided in a lapse of judgement that he would not contact this new list immediately. For the next couple of weeks, he continued his job search, but nothing materialized. Finally he decided to get in touch with the new contacts he had been given. He arranged interviews with each of the individuals and much to his surprise obtained a job offer from one of the four.