If you are struggling with your job search, here are three tactics to differentiate yourself from the dozens of other candidates. 

  1. Go Beyond Qualifications:  You must be qualified and meet the minimum standards outlined in the job posting, but if you want to attract a recruiter’s attention, you need to be helpful. Do not assume that the recruiter will connect the dots for you.
  2. Do your homework:  Be conversant with the elements of the job posting, research the company’s performance and look for information regarding the company’s reputation.  But that is only half of your homework.  Be prepared with answers to frequently asked questions – your weaknesses and strengths, your most significant accomplishment, your biggest setback, your leadership style and other questions that, all things considered, you are hoping they do not ask.  Most candidates research the companies, very few are prepared to answer those questions and therein lies a common mistake many candidates commit.
  3. Ask Questions, Close the Deal:  Not asking questions is another common mistake that many candidates make.  Your questions, first and foremost, should clarify the organization’s culture and climate – the difference between what the employer says happens and the reality.  Of course, you must exercise some tact here, but do not blow off this subject as unimportant, or something you will work out after you arrive. Cultural disconnects are the most common reason executives do not survive 24 months in a new job.  After you have asked your questions, then take the initiative and summarize why you want the job, why you feel you are ideally suited for the position.  If the employer is offended that you are being presumptuous, then know you are asking the right questions to the wrong people.