Positioning is Key when it comes to Job Search

Let’s do the math.

  • Fewer jobs.
  • More applicants.
  • Should = some changes in how you go about marketing yourself

Because I have been through a few downturns of hiring cycles, I can tell you from experience how hiring executives think when it comes to either filling an existing role with a new person or opening up a new role. They want either:

  • The perfect candidate. One that exactly meets the requirements. No risk in the resume.
  • Or, someone who can wear several hats at once. This person needs to meet the requirements of the core role, but be able to play more than one position. More bang for the hiring buck.

So, here is where your focus should be, if you are at all exploring or actively searching for that next role.

  1. Develop a target, or a few targets. Types of role in a certain type of organization. This might be based on where you are most hirable or what you want to do next.
  2. Define your value proposition for those targets. Why you and not the hundreds of other people that would like this job?
  3. Ensure that your resume, cover letter and other marketing materials represent a compelling, attractive and credible case for your candidacy.
  4. Work on your verbal presentation so that when you have those conversations, you are able to get them interested in you and your offering. That includes networking conversations and formal interviewing. There are too many tips to get into in this post. My general observation over the years has been that most people, no matter how senior they are in their profession, aren’t as good as they think they are at the interviewing conversation.
  5. Focus your attentions on:
    • The opportunities that fit within your target buckets. Apply to opportunities where you truly are a fit. Where your value proposition aligns. Ignore the others.
    • The relationships and networks that support you finding opportunities and becoming known in your target areas.
    • The activities that generate the above.

Back to the math. You need to do what you can to improve the odds on that equation. In addition to our existing services, I am about to announce some new solutions that address head-on this climate that we are in right now. More later.


  1. Good stuff Ian. My own personal experiences echo a lot of the thoughts in your post – most industries still have many jobs they are offering – the problem is that the competition has gone up significantly. In this type of job search environment candidates need to get back to basics – and make sure they’ve covered their bases on all the elements you’ve discussed (resume/CV, cover letter, interviewing technique, thank-you letter (!)) – because that’s whats ultimately going to separate those who get hired from those who don’t. Looking forward to more!

  2. As a sophmore in college I thought these tips were great. These are tips that i can begin to follow now as I’m am stilll in school. I am new to the whole idea of networking and have now started my networking process recently. I need to begin to come up with a resume and doing more informational interviews. With the economy the way it is this posting does not avoid the truth. There are fewer jobs and it offered great tips to begin to follow.

  3. Good post. Great tips. People often make the mistake of spreading themselves too thin when trying to select a few targets. They need to step back and make sure they’re not trying to do too much on a resume.

  4. This is a great list of tips, a list that I believe also applies to new business owners like myself, who are working to get new clients in the door, a process that is quite comparable to the interview process. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on how to gain more effective verbal presentation skills, particularly in networking situations. You mentioned people often think their skills are better than they really are, I'm wondering how someone would make sure they are up to par in this area.

  5. What a very informative post. These tips are very helpful. Unemployment rate has been increasing because of the growth in population and there have been less jobs available for people. Aside from the things mentioned above, people should attend trainings/seminars in order to add to their skills, thus making them more employable. As for the interview, practice speaking in front of the mirror and ask your friends about what are usually asked during interviews, so you'd know what to expect.

  6. Very good points. We too often have a tendency to generalize rather than focus our job searches. For a limited time, the Relationship Capital Co. is offering free job search training for your unemployed readers at: Relationship Capital Co.


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