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by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Career Planning, Make It Happen Tipsheet, New Job, Promotion, Recruitment

Nobody likes the odds in a lottery, but when you apply for a new role or pitch a new opportunity, 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 are chosen, you’re “qualified”.

But what of the other 999? If you are qualified, does this make them unqualified? The answer for most of them is yes, they are unqualified: they shouldn’t have bothered in the first place. (Of course, some were qualified, but you made the cut based on fit and other factors.) For both job seekers and professionals looking to land their next engagement, 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, and only spend time on opportunities where you meet these criteria. If they aren’t interested in buying what you’re selling, you may as well not bother with your sales pitch.

2) Highlight these selection qualifications in your initial connections with them.  If you’re looking for your next role, this means your cover letter and resume.

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

4) Make sure you highlight 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 problem that they are looking to solve; demonstrate this knowledge at every touchpoint, and make sure that it is aligned throughout your social profiles.


Making sure you’re “qualified” makes it far easier to build trust – in fact, it is the first step.  This week, skip any activity where you’re not the most qualified – and focus on those where you are.

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