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How to Standout from the crowd when interviewing - Interview tips



Making Yourself Unique in Today's Job Market

Fact: The number of people currently seeking jobs outnumbers the jobs that are available.

If you happen to be one of those job seekers, you have surely realized by now that you are competing against the odds. So the important question is, "How can you make yourself stand out when there are so many other candidates looking at the same job?"

 

The answer is: FOCUS. Focus on what makes you unique.

Let's assume that you have an outstanding resume and you make it to the top of the stack of resumes of people to be called for an interview. You and maybe nine or ten other equally qualified candidates for the position, that is.

Because companies have so many candidates to choose from, they are interviewing more people in order to select the "best." When you are lucky enough to be invited to an interview, it is essential that you are ready to sell yourself, and let the interviewers know what makes you unique. That is, what added value you can bring to the position; why you are the best person for the job. By doing some basic preparation, you can determine your uniqueness and where you should focus your attention.

 

The first step is to identify your top five strengths – the five areas in which you excel.

This may take some thought on your part. To determine your strengths, think about previous performance appraisals – what was said or written about you? What would your co-workers or ex-bosses say about you? What did you receive praise and recognition for? Make a list of your:

·         Technical Skills: The skills and experiences you have that would be required for the type of job you are seeking. For instance, an IT job would focus on programs, languages, platforms, etc.

 

·         Transferable Skills: Those skills you can take with you to any job. Examples of transferable skills include communication and interpersonal skills, time-management and project-management skills, the ability to build strong relationships, or the ability to influence others.

 

·         Positive Traits: What makes you unique? Maybe you never miss deadlines, are willing to do above and beyond what is asked, or perhaps you have a great attitude. Don't dismiss these traits--many people have been fired for negative personal traits rather than for lack of knowledge or ability.

 

When you have identified your five strengths, list them out with some specific examples of when those strengths have helped you achieve results on the job. It will be essential that you can not only identify your strengths, but that you also can provide examples and stories of times when you demonstrated those strengths.

The next step is to look at job postings and ads to find key words and phrases.

 

For this exercise, don't limit yourself to geographical location. Look at jobs of interest located anywhere.
When you have several postings, read each word and sentence carefully, taking notes as you go. What are they looking for? What words appear consistently in almost every posting?

Now, take a piece of paper and divide it in half. On one side write, "What they are seeking…," and on the other side, "What I have to offer…"

 

Each time you apply for a position, it will be invaluable for you to know how you stand against what they are looking for. This exercise will help you see how close a match you are and what you should focus on.
Some postings will list additional skills required, which will make it easier for you to see what is important to the employer. One example would be, "Must have excellent communications skills, strong organizational skills, and be a willing team player." If these words appear in most of your posting examples, then make sure they are a part of your focus. Can you work these words and your five strengths into the interview to demonstrate your fit? Some postings will be more vague about what is required and you may have to read between the lines to determine what other skills are necessary.

Finally, write out examples of your skills and accomplishments as they relate to your five strengths. Include the keywords the employer is seeking.

 

By preparing specific examples of your accomplishments, you will be able to easily show how you have "been there, done that," and can do it again. It will be necessary to demonstrate that you have what it takes, and then some, in order to set yourself apart from the competition and prove yourself unique in today’s job market.


By doing your homework, identifying the needs of the employer, highlighting five of your strengths, and supporting them with specific examples, you will be able to sell your uniqueness and stand out from the other candidates. I challenge you to find your uniqueness in today’s job market, and put yourself ahead of the game!

 



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