Trying to stand out in a crowd is not always the best way to stand out.

Unique job skill

This got me thinking

I was once chatting with an old friend of mine about his dating struggles. Or rather, struggles about his lack of serious dating.

In his late 30's, single and wanting very much to start a family, he felt the pressure mounting as time crept on. As a result, he began looking for new ways to meet that special someone.

Later that year, he signed up to a major dating site and spent 3 months meeting site members whose profiles showed that they had similar interests.

Unfortunately, the 3 months went by without him meeting anyone significant which, although he didn't say so, only made the situation seem more desperate.

However, when I asked him why he thought it didn't work out, he responded with 2 key insights to dating websites:

  1. How good you look in your profile picture will decide whether people continue reading your profile
  2. When a better-looking person is potentially just one click away, you need to look great to keep people from clicking too quickly

Although he's a decent-looking guy, he didn't stand much of a chance in that situation.

The lesson learned:

If you want success, put yourself in a place where you're likely to have success.

My friend's experience with the dating site taught him that to find his wife, he will need to go places online and offline where:

  • his strengths will stand out relative to the others around him, and
  • his strengths will be most attractive to the woman he's hoping to meet

Job search is very similar to dating.

Just as my friend spent a lot of time not finding “the one”, many people work too hard in their job search not finding the one job that they need, not getting results that match their efforts, and all too often the reasons are the same ones that frustrated my friend's online dating adventures.

Sound familiar?

3 Steps to Make Your Job Search Easier

Here's how you can turn the situation around.

1) Uncover your comparative job strengths

Don't pay lip service to this! Spend time thinking about what you're good at and make a list, because writing forces people to think.

Look for the strengths that are particularly important in your profession. Then, focus on your comparative strengths e.g. lots of people read well, but how many people read at a rate of 10 pages per minute? Think back to compliments that people have given your work, and reread your LinkedIn Recommendations (or any other kind).

Finally, practice talking about these strengths to get comfortable as you sell your abilities to employers who want to buy hire.

2) Discover where your job strengths matter most

In which industry, in which town, in what role are your strengths most likely to make you stand out as a must-hire candidate?

Time for some research.

Comb the news, both industry and local, listen on relevant Facebook pages and LinkedIn groups, ask industry heavyweights via Twitter or attention-getting comments on their blogs, and prepare to redesign your job search.

3) Build your job strengths

Now it's time to combine 1) and 2).

With the information about job market demand for your strengths, prioritize your list by ranking which of your comparative strengths are most attractive to potential employers.

Then, look for ways to improve those critical strengths so that you will stand out even more in comparison to other candidates.

Too many job seekers get to a point where it seems there are no openings left, and these tips should open up new directions and new leads.

Question of the article

How did you discover one of your strongest job strengths? Tell us in the comments.

The Roaring Job Search AnthologySpecial Promotion for JobMob Readers

The Roaring Job Search Anthology by Lavie Margolin

“Lavie walks you through the steps that help you find what you are looking for when it comes to your true calling. Get ready for results!” Nanci on Amazon

Lavie Margolin is a friend of mine and a career coach with over 125 recommendations on LinkedIn from satisfied ex-job seekers.

If you buy the book through this link, I will also earn a percentage of the sale, so you'll be thanking JobMob too:

Get The Roaring Job Search Anthology Now (the link will open in a new window or tab)

I originally published a version of this article on the terrific Personal Branding Blog.

Subscribe to JobMob via RSS or email and follow me on Twitter to learn more ways to simplify your job search.

Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Tehillah Hessler

    Very good article that I’m going to share with some friends. Now on to your question (i.e., How did you discover one of your strongest job strengths?):

    I listened to what my clients had to say about me.

    It’s often difficult for us to analyze our job strengths objectively, and what we believe is a strength someone else could view as a weakness (e.g., “work well independently” could be read as “not a team player” or “difficult to manage” – especially if the manager is much younger than the applicant) – it’s all about perception. So after many rewrites of my CV and website, about 3 years ago I decided to let my LinkedIn Recommendations speak for me.

    A few “professional” recruiters chastised me for placing employer/client “references” on the first page of my CV – their take on it was that you don’t provide references until someone asks for them (i.e., thinking outside-the-box didn’t appeal to them). Fortunately, they were dead wrong. That CV format has (B”H) brought me a steady stream of new clients for more than 2 years! And several of those new clients posted recommendations on LinkedIn and they’re now displayed on my CV (I rotate them from time to time to keep it fresh and applicable to particular projects I’m bidding on).

    Shabbat Shalom!

  2. Rotimi Adedayo

    I think discovery is the toughest part of the exercise, many people find it tough zeroing down on where their strength lies, perhaps because they have several abilities,but really there is a need to identify the greatest one can build on.

  3. Rotimi Adedayo

    Discovering your greatest strength seems to be the toughest part of the exercise. A lot of people find it tough probably because they have several abilities. However there is a need to zero on the best of those abilities and build on it to make it the greatest. Often times, it is what one does effortlessly with passion that singles out the area of strength.

  4. Jacob Share

    Tehillah- thanks for giving a case study element to the article. Using testimonials/references directly in your CV is very smart. You should do a guest post here on that topic 🙂

    Rotimi- agreed. For many people, uncovering your strengths is the hardest part. Especially in cultures where compliments/recommendations aren’t a regular practice.

  5. Tehillah Hessler

    Thanks Jacob, however, doing a guest post like that would increase my competition 🙂

  6. Kate

    This is one of several articles I’ve read comparing job searching to mate searching and I want to emphasize one thing: you can always get a new job. You will always just be dating your job. A spouse really does connect you forever, even if you get divorced.

Leave a Reply