by Laura Garnett
Ever since the economic downturn in 2008 the job market has been reeling. High unemployment has been the norm for several years, and now that things are slowly starting to pick up competition for the best jobs is fierce. This ultra-competitive landscape makes your preparation for and approach to a job interview more important than ever. The key is being proactive in determining what your ideal job is, rather than trying to mold yourself to conform to any job description that seems like it might be a plausible fit. You need to be specific about what your niche is and how your unique approach makes you the best person for the job.
This proactive approach — defining yourself first — is counter to how most of us have traditionally approached our careers. For the most part we have been taught to find a good job and then adapt in order to perform. The problem is that in this competitive job market, employers hold the leverage and they can afford to hold out for the best person for the job, not just someone who satisfies an HR checklist.
So, assuming you at least meet the basic requirements of a position, you need to really impress. And to do that you need to be clear on your fit and have a case to prove it. By doing so, not only will you make the employers hiring decision easy, but once in the position you will already know how to deliver the best results and create the most impact. But to gauge your fit for a job and ultimately make that kind of unforgettable impression on your potential employer, you need to know yourself first.
With this in mind, here are the 5 steps to land your ideal job:
1.) Know your Zone of Genius (Your top skill and purpose)
First you need to figure out what it is that you do best and what it is that gives you a sense of purpose. This critical insight into yourself, this “PhD in you” will allow you to clearly communicate to your interviewer exactly what you bring to the table and how that makes you a perfect fit for the job.
2.) Create language that speaks to your potential employer
Your innate talent is the approach you take to the work you do. Be able to speak with clarity on what it is that you are great at and have examples that detail how you have used this talent over and over again, and how it relates specifically to the opportunity at hand.
3.) Know what your ideal job would be and be clear if the job opportunity is not a good fit
Showing that you are able to turn down something that isn’t right speaks to your confidence and alignment with what is right for you. It results in people wanting to help you find the right opportunity. If during the course of your interview it becomes clear that it isn’t the right position for you, don’t be afraid to admit as much and ask the employer if there is another opening in the company that is more suitable. They may even know of a better fit in another organization. It’s a small world and most people want to see a good egg succeed, even if it’s in somebody else’s basket.
4.) Build your personal brand throughout your interview answers
Be prepared to tell your story in a way that highlights your Zone of Genius, and have copious back-up material to support this. A personal website, a portfolio, referral letters, and other examples from your past are amongst the ways you can demonstrate your Zone of Genius. Using these examples, build your story and paint a compelling picture of how you consistently leverage your skill and passion in a variety of ways, that showcases how you are someone who creates opportunities rather than waiting for them to be given to you.
5.) If the job is right, be confident and clear that you are the right person for the job
Be clear on what drives you and determine how it fits within the company’s environment. Research and know the mission of the company. Is it aligned with your own personal mission? If so, move forward with confidence and be able to have that conversation with your potential employer, making sure you reference a variety of reasons why you believe this is the case. Your ability to make them see that you are going to be connected to them on a level deeper than a paycheck, because most employers know that Work with Purpose = Standout Results.
Laura Garnett is a Talent Strategist and Leadership Activator. Her Zone of Genius is being able to see the underlying patterns within people that is indicative of their Zone of Genius. She then connects them to their personal brand and career strategies that are right for them. Her mission is to help everyone know their Zone of Genius and use that as a driving force for their career decisions. When you have clarity, focus and passion, anything is possible. Laura brings years of experience as a high-level corporate executive for companies such as Google, American Express and Capital One as well as her own personal time “in the trenches” as a solo entrepreneur who’s created her own dream job.