Putting distance between yourself and other job candidates

Just the other day, I was at a local restaurant for a breakfast meeting. Since the morning restaurant patrons had not yet begun to arrive, I had the opportunity to chat a bit with our server. I have been to this establishment on many occasions and noticed that this particular individual seems to be a customer favorite.

She inquired regarding the party who was to meet with me and asked if I was going to do an interview (I had the job seeker’s resume out on the table and was making on it some additional notes for myself). When I responded that we were meeting to do some resume and job search coaching, the server said she had a unique story about landing the job with the restaurant.

During her interview with the restaurant owner, the server provided to him a sheet of paper containing a list of names for about a dozen couples. Upon presenting this document to her interviewer, the server stated, “By the way, this is a list of my best clients from my previous server’s job. They are all coming here for dinner tomorrow night and expect to have me waiting on their tables. These are very loyal clients…you would not want to disappoint them, would you?”

Result – she got the position and was there to greet her loyal clients the next evening.

Now that is a “wow” factor! How many of the other candidates for this server’s position do you think did anything even close to that? You’re correct – NONE.

Whether you are trying to sell your house, a car or just about anything else, the challenge to the seller is always to make what they are selling the best choice for the buyer, so that their house, car or whatever is “the one” selected.

Job seekers have the same challenge. They are competing against what is normally many hundreds of other candidates…all basically “selling” the same set of skills, talents and experiences to the “buyer” (hiring manager). In this sea of talent, how can someone significantly differentiate themselves?

The keys to creating a lot of distance between you and the other candidates are as follows:

Customization of the resume/interview discussion to each job opportunity being sought
“Key Achievement” bullet points on your resume that clearly demonstrate how you have applied each of the skills being sought by the hiring manager – within the context of the duties and responsibilities of positions held with former employers – to create exceptional, “wow me” results
Providing specific examples of exceptional successes to the interviewer(s), delivered with a high degree of self-confidence, poise and professionalism

It's not easy; if it were, then everyone would be considered an “ideal” candidate, but it is doable!

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Volume 3, Issue 14, Posted 3:24 PM, 07.26.2011