Finding your dream career isn’t an easy thing to do. For some people, finding any job is tough enough so it’s no wonder that finding the perfect career is a difficult thing to accomplish. I would like to point out one thing though, that so many job candidates seem to miss. It’s ALL about differentiating yourself from other job candidates and leveraging what makes you special to get the job.
An effective way of thinking is to put yourself into the shoes of a hiring manager or employer. Why would the hiring manager or employer hire you over another candidate? If you can’t answer that question yourself, than you shouldn’t be interviewing anywhere!
I’m serious… If you don’t know why you’re better than the competition or how you’re different, how is the hiring manager going to know? He/she isn’t going to know and they’re not going to hire you. It’s as simple as that.
So how do you differentiate yourself and stand out from the competition? Get damn good at something, focus all of your energy into specializing in it and become a go-to resource for it. Make employers want to hire you because they’ll be gaining an authority in the topic, or at the very least, somebody who is going to bring VALUE to their company. I’ll say it again, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the employer and think about why they want to hire you.
You have to specialize in something and be great at it
No employer wants someone with a generic skill set that they can hire anywhere in the world. They want someone who is going to bring a unique skill set and personality to the table. You need to pick something that you like to do and pour your energy into to build up your skill set in it. Think bigger than just getting a job today, think about doing something for the next few years and getting damn good at it.
Employers pay employees who specialize in something that not many other people can do, they don’t pay people to be dependable and do something any Joe Schmoe can do. But how can you specialize in something when you don’t have the initial experience or even know where to specialize?
Get educated in your specialization
When you’re trying to differentiate yourself as a job candidate among hundreds or thousands of your peers, your education matters. There might be a massive debate right now on the return on investment of college educations and degrees, but I still believe education makes a huge difference in how you can differentiate yourself. If you’re blessed to have an extensive college education in the field that you’re looking to enter or stay in, that’s fantastic. But what about the people that are looking to change fields or simply can’t afford to put themselves in $100,000 of student loan debt?
It’s never been easier to gain advanced skills and competencies in new fields through the use of online teaching courses and MOOC’s, which are often free of charge or available for a minimal cost. I’ve listed a few websites below that offer advanced learning that can help kickstart your new target niche education or build upon your existing skill set.
These online courses and MOOCs are a perfect way to start building your specialization in a field, at little to no cost whatsoever. No, getting a certificate from one of these websites or completing a course online doesn’t have the same prestige as an advanced degree from Harvard University, but if you’re just looking to find a niche in the job market and exploit it, this will help you gain advanced skills that set you apart. If you have knowledge and experience in something specific, an employer isn’t necessarily going to care as much about how you got that experience in comparison to whether or not you can complete the position requirements.
Rather than just being a marketing analyst with no specialization, you can take a class on Coursera, “Introduction to Data Science”, and carve out a niche in big data marketing. Taking one class obviously won’t make you an expert, but you’ll likely know more about the subject than the majority of job candidates you’re competing against and it gives you a baseline knowledge to build upon.
Get your foot in the door
Education is great, it really is. But the best way to gain experience in something is by doing it in the real world, for a living. Once you’ve built up your education to the point where you can sell yourself to an employer and convince them that you can add value to their company in the field of your specialization, get the job and work like crazy. Gain as much experience in your specialization as possible on the job. Consume as much information as possible and learn from the top individuals at your company.
Education and experience is a deadly career combination that you can use to climb the corporate ladder like wild fire. If you can combine both education and experience with laser-like focus, your career is going to achieve highs you’ve never thought previously possible.
The key to finding a great job is hard work and create a degree of differentiation in your job candidacy. Going back to the beginning of the post, you have to give your potential employer a reason to hire you. They’re not just going to make that determination on their own, you MUST create your own value proposition and continuously sell yourself in the interview process.
One of the best ways to sell yourself is by exploiting a niche that not many people have experience in, which adds value to the position you’re interviewing for. Most people aren’t born with a bad ass career specialization, so you’ll likely have to put in hard work to find that niche and gain relevant experience in it. As stated earlier, one of the best ways to go about gaining proficiency in your niche is to advance your education, either formally or informally, to the point where you can speak to your abilities in an interview.
Have some questions about how you can carve out your own career niche and crush the job search? Sound off in the comments or send me an email at [email protected]! Thanks for reading and I hope you found a ton of value in this post.
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