Edging Out The Competition For A Job

 In Job Search Strategy

Edging out the competition: What does it REALLY take?

When it comes down to the wire, and there are two finalists for a job, what exactly is that “magic ingredient” that tips the scales in your favor over the other person?

There are a lot of factors at work in the application process that are on every hiring manager’s checklist that can make the difference in edging out the competition.

Let’s pull back the curtain and see what an employer is really looking for:

  1. A) Candidate meets job criteria
  2. B) Has relevant experience
  3. C) Cites specific examples demonstrating ability to do the job in resume
  4. D) Cover letter demonstrates competent communications skills and connects to audience
  5. E) Interviews well and confidently – has strong responses to interview questions
  6. F) Builds rapport in interview including showing resourcefulness, intellect, and enthusiasm
  7. G) Asks questions back to show interest in organization and send signal about research on company
  8. H) Great references
  9. I) Potential for growth

But the real deciding factor boils down to one thing that most employers agree upon:

They like you.

Culture fit, and how you would mesh with the organization is often the most influential factor in hiring decisions.

Sometimes, they will bypass a more qualified candidate for a lesser one because the other person had the right chemistry in the interview which means edging out the competition.

So what happens if you can’t seem to connect with the interviewers, and don’t feel that magic moment happening?

You can’t force people to like you.

The reality is that if you have done your best, and the match isn’t there, it “ain’t gonna happen.”

You need to move on.

Many bloggers and career advisers make comparisons between hiring and dating. Truth be told, this is actually very accurate, and can make the difference in edging out the competition.

If the chemistry isn’t there from the get-go, things usually don’t get any better as time wears on.

Employers know that.

Your job when applying for employment is to make sure you do your very best to know your target company, and build your network so you have an internal advocate who can give you internal cultural clues.

The more you know about the values, culture fit, and personality mix that the employer is looking for, the better you can decide if this is going to work for you as well.

Do your research, and do your best.

And if the fit isn’t there this time, it means another opportunity is waiting out there where it will be, and you’ll be edging out the competition for that job instead!

Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is a Certified Advanced Résumé Writer and the president of Portland, Ore.-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. Clients from across the United States and Canada and from all career levels have benefited from Dawn’s highly-focused and results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. Many professional groups as well as colleges and universities have appreciated the insights and expertise she shares during presentations on career management topics, and she is a frequently requested national speaker as a result.

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