Q: What is the most effective way to get ahead in the long line of applicants for one position?
A: With the Massachusetts unemployment rate hovering around 9%, I hear your concern. The Labor Department announced in October of 2009 that there were, on average, 6.3 unemployed workers for every open job in the US. In December of 2007, there were 1.7 unemployed workers for every open position in the US. It sounds like you are feeling that increase which translates into stiff competition for each and every open role.
I contacted Paul Pasquarosa, Director of Client Services for the Boston office of Hire Aspirations, LLC. Pasquarosa recommends that each job seeker ask themselves the following questions:
1. Do I have my elevator speech down? What is an elevator speech? Your personal one minute infomercial.
If you were to receive a call right now from a potential employer and he told you that he was calling ten potential candidates for a job he had available, and he was inviting five in for a face to face interview and proceeded to ask you why you should be one of the five? Would you ace that phone call? If your answer is “no” then you are not ready. You will likely not be visiting face to face with a potential hiring manager unless and until you can communicate with passion your personal value proposition.
2. Am I making myself as visible as possible?
If you do not have a profile on Linkedin, you are limiting your marketing exposure. Like it or not, it is a resource business people are looking at for both substantiation of past claims and verification of certifications and proficiencies.
3. Have I leveraged all of my past business contacts sufficiently?
All of us have experienced the scenario when someone has called us about a position they have available and are wondering if we know of anyone good who is looking for work. What that tells us is that before people in a hiring capacity are willing to roll the dice on the job search boards, they reach out to people they know and respect looking for a personal endorsement. Therefore your ability and willingness to network is key in this endeavor.
Pasquarosa further recommends that you consider Tools, Targets and Tactics (the 3Ts):
TOOLS: A clear and concise identification of the product you want to bring to market (INFOMERCIAL) you ability to articulate the features, advantages and benefits of that product.
TARGETS: Who would embrace this product if they were aware of its availability?
TACTICS: How can I strategically position myself to introduce the value I possess into a targeted company. You should now begin to see the value of network contacts, the value of your willingness and ability to communicate the value you present to a potential hire.
This is a very competitive job market. You need to think about how to differentiate yourselves from others. Do you have a skill, an experience or some other “edge” that you should include in your elevator speech – something that will make you memorable (in a good way!) If so, then use it!