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by Randall Craig on October 28, 2008

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

Tagged as: , ,

Nobody likes the odds in a lottery, but when you apply for a new position, sometimes it feels like you’re buying a ticket for one. When you put your name in the hat, you do so with 1000 others. Get through the screener and your odds may be 100 to 1. By the time there is a short list, you’re one of three. If you get the job, you’re “qualified”.

But what of the other 999 candidates? If you are qualified, does this make them unqualified? The answer for most of them is yes, they are unqualified: they shouldn’t have applied in the first place. (Of course, some were qualified, but you made the cut based on fit and other factors.) For job seekers, the key question is how to prove that you are qualified enough to get through the initial screening process. Here are some ideas:

1) Look for the the selection criteria in the job description, and only apply for jobs where you meet these criteria. If a company isn’t interested in buying what you’re selling, you may as well not bother with your sales pitch. (Or your resume, or your research.)

2) Highlight these selection qualifications in your cover letter and resume – don’t hide them.

3) Use your network and your relationships to help “place” your resume at the top of the pile. Even better, try to avoid having your resume in the pile in the first place.

4) Make sure your resume shows the impact you have made in each of the key qualification areas. You don’t want to show that you have the expertise, but that you have the best, most relevant, expertise.

5) Research the industry, the organization, and the position; demonstrate this knowledge in your letter and interviews, through the quality of your statements and your questions.

This week’s action item: Making sure you’re “qualified” is also the secret to closing the sale or getting that promotion. This week, skip any activity where you’re not the most qualified – and focus on those where you are.

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)