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Becoming the Perfect Candidate

by Randall Craig on April 18, 2006

Filed in: Blog, Career Planning, Make It Happen Tipsheet, New Job,

Tagged as: , , ,

My coaching clients often will ask – how do I make myself perfect for a job that has just been posted?

Most people know the basics: do the research, write a great cover letter, and customize your resume. And make sure that you know the buzzwords. And if you are clever enough, you’ll get an interview, and be offered the position. (Or get that promotion.)

Unfortunately, this is a recipe for disappointment.

Think about it: every hiring manager has a profile of the perfect candidate, and usually their requirements are very clearly described in the posting. Why would they hire anyone who does not have a tick-box on each and every requirement? Experienced interviewers can smell someone who is not the real thing a mile away. How? Perhaps buzzwords were used just slightly incorrectly; maybe the candidate doesn’t belong to the trade association; or maybe the candidate doesn’t know who the movers and shakers are within the industry.

So, if you’re thinking of that promotion, or applying for a job, how do you make it happen? Here are some suggestions:

1) Define what your next perfect job will be.

2) Fill in the gaps between now and when you will be ready to take that job on. This might mean signing on for training, or perhaps getting a recognized certification. It might mean attending monthly trade association meetings, annual conventions, and reading trade journals. While this may seem like a lot of work, it is a 100% investment in yourself.

3) Consider asking your manager to give you extra tasks so that you can “stretch” your capabilities in the direction that you would like to go.

4) Finally, only apply where it is YOU who will be the perfect candidate.

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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