I specialize in international career and expat coaching. I am a certified coach / counselor at Dutch...
Are you brave enough to be a remarkable candidate?12 May 2014, by Dorota Klop-Sowinska
A couple of weeks ago I attended a remarkable product master class that clarified something for me. Obviously, the main task of all job-seeking expats is to sell your unique skills. Since (one of my) services, however, is to help you get the job you want, I have to remind you that in order to speed up this process there is one thing you really need to do.
You cannot be just another job-seeking candidate; you need to be a remarkable candidate!
Why? Because most candidates are doing exactly the same things as every other job-seeker. This makes it hard for them to stand out enough to be chosen as it is difficult for hiring managers to see clearly why they should hire them above someone else.
Tips for being a remarkable candidate
As the job market is still tough, a successful job search calls for tough measures. That is why I have come up with a list of tips on how to become a remarkable candidate so hiring managers will say YES, we want YOU!
› Tip 1: Know your expertise
One employment truism I read the other day is that people will pay you much more for who you are than for what you do. This holds true in many aspects of the business world.
In order for a hiring manager to hire you, they need to be convinced that you are able to do the job they have. A good CV is obviously vital, but the problem is that nowadays everyone has a good CV.
Even if you have an excellent CV, it is often not enough to get you hired. In order to start working on your status as a remarkable candidate, you need to show what you have to offer and you need to be crystal clear about what your area of expertise is.
Check this for yourself by answering the following question as specifically as possible: "What problem(s) will you help to solve or what objectives will you be able to achieve once you are hired?"
The interesting thing about this question is that it highlights that what you believe is quite normal practice is actually potentially a unique skill, one that is difficult to match.
For example, building teams might be second nature to you, but is in fact a genuine specialisation of yours. Knowing this, you need to highlight it by discussing your unique expertise in your cover letter and later during the interview. Here’s more on how to discover your unique talents.
› Tip 2: Know how to market your expertise
Knowing your area of expertise is not enough; it is only the first step on your way to getting paid for who you are.
The second step is to show to the world that you are a king (expert) in your kingdom (area of expertise). There are two main ways you can demonstrate your expertise: through writing and through public speaking.
Both are great ways to show the outside world that not only are you a king (or an expert), but that you are different to your competition (other job seekers, obviously not kings).
First, choose the method that fits you best and later on add the second one. It is important to start acting fast, so choose and focus.
One of the easiest ways show your expertise through writing is to start your own blog. Here you can write on topics related to your field, or you can find other platforms and offer them your articles.
If you choose to channel your expertise through public speaking, start by looking for conferences and networking events where you can give presentations. Being on a podium speaking on your area automatically makes you an expert. Don’t worry, you will always know more about the topic than your audience.
› Tip 3: Work on your online presence
The next step is to work on your online presence. These days almost every job-seeker has a LinkedIn profile. If you don’t, it is time to get one quick.
Check out my tips on how to build a great LinkedIn profile. If you already have a profile on LinkedIn, you need to make it shine and stand out. One of the ideas that adds greatly to the points above is to broadcast your expert status through your LinkedIn profile.
This could include:
- Adding your blog where you show your expert status
- Preparing a presentation in your area of expertise, putting it on SlideShare and uploading it to your profile
- Making a video of yourself where you talk about your area of expertise
- Interviewing a well-known authority in your field, putting it in your blog or making a video of it and putting it on your profile.
These examples might feel out of reach, if like many of us you have your own unique saboteurs or voices within that tell you not risk your image and stay low profile. Here's how to recognise and work with your saboteurs.
› Tip 4: Improve your customer service
Yes, customer service. Hiring managers and recruiters are your clients, as you are trying to sell them something; you are selling them your expertise.
Very often candidates have a demanding approach towards hiring managers and expect to be informed in a timely manner about all steps of the process. If you think this is true of you, try to be different and surprise them positively.
How? Just with very simple things. Call them the same day after the interview to thank them, or write them a hand written thank-you note. You could even send a small present, such as a pen with the name of your blog.
› Tip 5: Work on relationships in a meaningful way
The previous tip takes me to my last one, which is working on relationships in a meaningful way.
One of the best ways to get a job is through networking, but networking is often done wrongly. We expect too much from the other party, often without thinking whether we can help them.
The right way to network is described well by Tony Hsieh in his book Delivering Happiness. He talks about building meaningful and personal relationships. Some of these relationships will not work out directly, but a few of them could transform into powerful and beneficial relationships that help you in your professional and private life.
As everything in our lives depends on our relationships with others, it is about having a long-term perspective in your head (slowly building deep relations) rather than going for short-term profits only (asking as many people possible during an event for a job).
So don’t just focus on selling yourself; listen to the other person and trust that he or she will do the same.
Dare to be different, dare to be YOU!
Lastly, in order to achieve success with any of the tips above, there is one thing you need above all else: DARING.
Do you dare to stand out from the crowd and not be not just "another brick in the wall"? What is your biggest issue or fear around letting yourself shine? Let us know in the comments below!