Trying to stand out in a crowd is not always the best way to stand out.
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:
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:
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.
Here's how you can turn the situation around.
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
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.
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 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.
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I originally published a version of this article on the terrific Personal Branding Blog.
Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.