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Sharpen Your Job Hunting Focus: It’s Competitive Out There

Kristen Harris

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Unemployment numbers. Job loss reports. The latest jobs-related statistics are enough to make you want to just crawl under a rock and hide until “this whole thing” blows over. Guess what? It’s not blowing over and nothing will be exactly like it was before. The jobs marketplace is highly competitive; you must focus all of your energy and efforts to succeed.

The reality is that there are jobs. People are getting hired. Reported unemployment statistics are actually the net number of jobs created minus jobs lost. Hear that? Jobs created. People hired. Companies are hiring, albeit with extreme caution and specificity.

So who is getting hired, and how can you make sure it’s you? Are companies hiring only the absolutely smartest, most talented, exceptionally educated, or inherently best people on earth? Probably not. It’s easy for job seekers to think that, it seems impossible to compete against these mythical perfect people. But the reality is that once the base requirements of the job are met, the playing field is pretty even amongst all qualified candidates.

The people who are getting hired are putting themselves in the right places, talking to the right people, and presenting the right skills to the right companies so they are the best person for that position at that company at that time.

The best person for that position at that company at that time. It’s not about being the best person in the world, in town, or even in your field. Just the best person for the particular need that company has at that time. This is a critical mistake that many job-seekers make. They tend to apply for every job they see, sending in completely generic resumes, rather than directing all their energy on ferreting out positions at the companies and in the fields that they are most suited for. Positions that may not be posted, or even created yet (until they meet you).

You can’t and don’t need to be the perfect candidate for every position out there. But you can and will be the perfect candidate for certain positions. Take a hard look at your skills, talents, background and experience. Research and identify a core group of companies that appear to have the closest match to what you do, or who are most likely to need your skills. This is not the time to try to sell yourself on what you think you can do or learning on the job. Frankly, companies don’t have the time, money or resources to spend on you. You have to already be what they need right now. If you’re not, move on and focus on opportunities where you are the best person that company’s needs right now.

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included. ©2011 Kristen Harris, Portfolio Creative, LLC.

Kristen Harris is co-founder and owner of Portfolio Creative, a workforce innovation firm that was named the 326th fastest growing company in the U. S. by Inc. magazine in 2009. Portfolio Creative helps companies streamline and innovate their creative work to save time, energy and money.


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