That ancient Greek aphorism serves us well in job search. In order to get the job you really want, you have to be aware of the special talents that you have to offer the potential employer. You have to know what skills you have that differentiate you from the other candidates for the job. This takes some soul searching and some scanning of the environment to see your experience in comparison to that of others. The Ladders actually shows you your background compared to other applicants for a job. Career Builder will also give you an idea of the skills and education of the other candidates for a particular posting. These sites are trying to give you some insight into what makes you qualified for the job. Obviously there isn’t much you can do after already applying for the job, but you can prepare yourself by evaluating just what skills might be needed, and measuring realistically what you have to offer.
Applying for jobs you are not qualified is not a good use of your time. It tires out the recruiters evaluating your resume against those of people more qualified and sends a negative message that you were not able to surmise that you were lacking in basic qualifications for the role. You should think through carefully before applying online and make sure you have most of the attributes they are looking for.
Sometimes submitting to personality tests can help you identify the qualities you might bring to a particular role. Many online applications include a Predictive Index or some other kind of assessment as a part of their process. While this might take you out of the running for the job, there really isn’t any way to prepare for these kinds of assessments. There isn’t any right or wrong answer; just whatever you think is appropriate. Based on your responses, you will fit into certain categories of candidates for the role. Presumably the employer has already decided what the ideal profile is for the role they are filling. Much as you have no control over the outcome of this exercise, you can pay attention to your responses and take note of what they say about you. They may indicate that you are outwardly focused, or find certain areas where you have preferences you might not have been aware of. All of this information can help you make the right choices for jobs and careers and enhance your application for a position.
This self-assessment carries over into the interview phase. After all, the fellow candidates that The Ladders displayed to you are going in for interviews too. The idea is not to compete with them as much as to emphasize the knowledge and experience that you possess that will make you a success at the job. Karen Young, recruiter at Hays UK, recommends thinking of yourself as a product with appropriate marketing and branding.
Is there a particular skill they seem to desire? Be able to explain how you have managed large scale projects in several different situations. Are they an international company? Make sure you include your knowledge of foreign languages and any international travel which has prepared you for such a role. Tom Peters, management guru, once said: be distinct… or extinct. It’s the way you set yourself apart from the competition that will get you that next opportunity.