7 Tips for Trouncing the Job Competition in an Upbeat Economy

The good news is that the economy is robust. Employers are in a hiring mode. The bad news is that the competition is fierce. Skilled workers who had to shelter in place at lackluster jobs during the economic downturn are now looking to move.

Facing off against ten competitors for every choice job will take confidence and finesse. But you can up your game and impress your interviewers with your passion and self-assurance. It will require doing your due diligence, refining your message and preparing mentally for game day.

Use these seven critical strategies to trounce your competitors and land the job in spite of the odds.

Add flair to your profiles.

When was the last time you Googled yourself? You can be sure employers will use a search engine to look for you. If you’ve climbed several rungs up the career ladder since you last updated your LinkedIn profile, be sure to bring it up to date. Rework those blanket statements about being creative, hard working and a quick learner. Replace them with actual evidence ofwhat you created and how you demonstrated hard work. Provide concrete examples, not platitudes. Be creative and audacious. Include industry awards, client accolades, objective criteria and any fact that shows third-party validation.

Put on your reporter’s cap.

Imagine that you are a journalist whose assignment it is to write a profile piece on the person who’s interviewing you. Find out everything you can about her in advance. Check Google, Facebook, and her Twitter feed. Investigate her LinkedIn profile too (but realize that your name will show up under LinkedIn’s “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature so only do it once, and take notes). Has she been quoted widely in any articles? Where did she work before he started at this company? Gathering background information like this leads to smoother in-person conversations.

Look to your network for a referral.

You earn added credibility with any referral you can obtain either from within the company you’re applying to or from someone trustworthy who knows both you and the employer. Even if you don’t know the mutual contact well, try to parlay your professional connection into a nod in your favor.

Prepare for tough questions.

Anticipate fielding at least a few tricky questions in your interview, and know in advance how you’ll handle them. Uncomfortable questions run the gamut, such as: “Why are you looking to leave your current job?” or “Aren’t you too young for this job?” If you have any holes in your career, be ready to explain them.

Schedule a dress rehearsal.

Rehearse your questions and answers in front of a mirror, a family member or another job-hunting buddy. Learn your answers so thoroughly that you can deliver them in a spontaneous way. Use insightful observations about the industry or ways to offer kudos for recent company successes as lead-ins.

Dress for success.

Dress appropriately — that is, professionally — for the interview. Make you interviewer feel comfortable by showing, by your dress and demeanor, that you’ll fit in perfectly from Day One.

Enter the interview firing on all pistons.

You’ve prepared well and now it’s time to pull out all the charm, professionalism and powers of observation you can muster. Make eye contact. Listen attentively to the interviewer. If there’s a break in the conversation, mention that you have some questions.

Put these tips to work and you can land the job!

This guest post was authored by Vicky Oliver


Vicky Oliver is a leading career development expert and the multi-best-selling author of five books, including 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks 2005), named in the top 10 list of “Best Books for HR Interview Prep,” and 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions (Skyhorse 2010). She is a sought-after speaker and seminar presenter and a popular media source, having made over 700 appearances in broadcast, print, and online outlets. For more information, visit vickyoliver.com.





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Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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