Do You Have the Competitive Advantage to Succeed in Todays Job Market?

    July 28, 2003

Remember the good old days when recruiters contacted you about job leads and answering ads drew enough interviews to keep your search days at a minimum? At one time you may have been a highly sought-after commodity. However, it’s far from the reality of today’s shrinking job market for most job seekers.

More than ever it’s critical that you are on top of the game when searching for a new position. To help you assess your marketability, take the following inventory and see where you may need to make some improvements.

Personal and Professional Development

1. Do you read newspapers and magazines (including trade journals) regularly to stay abreast of key issues in business and in your field? ___Yes ___ No

2. Do you have the appropriate education and experience for the kind of position you are seeking? ___Yes ___ No

3. Do you attend seminars and workshops that will add to your knowledge and expertise? ___Yes ___ No

4. Do you belong to at least one professional organization? ___Yes ___ No

5. Have you had increasing levels of responsibility and/or been promoted in the past five year? ___Yes ___ No

Career Preparation

6. Have you identified key skills and abilities, as well strengths and weaknesses? ___Yes ___ No

7. Up to date on your professional attire? ___Yes ___ No

8. Do you know the key elements that differentiate you from your competition? ___Yes ___ No

9. Do you know exactly the kind of job you want next? ___Yes ___ No

10. Do you know how to research companies and industries to get the information you need for your search? ___Yes ___ No

Building and Maintaining Relationships

11. Do you keep in contact with peers you have met at professional events? ___Yes ___ No

12. Do you keep in contact with people you have worked with in the past? ___Yes ___ No

13. Do you attend professional conventions and make contacts with leaders in your field? ___Yes ___ No

14. Do you initiate introduction to others at social and business functions? ___Yes ___ No

15. Do you exchange business cards with all new people you meet at those functions? ___Yes ___ No

16. Are you using all of the appropriate strategies to market yourself, generate opportunities and interview effectively to win offers – rather than relying on only one or two avenues for your search? ___Yes ___ No

Marketing Letter Essentials

17. Have you developed, honed and can communicate your unique skills, abilities and accomplishments? ___Yes ___ No

18. Do you research and address all your letters to specific individuals (except when answering blind-box classified ads)? ___Yes ___ No

19. Do you always follow up with potential employers and take a proactive approach after answering ads, sending correspondence and interviewing? ___Yes ___ No

20. Do you address what you can do for the company rather than what the company can do for you?

21. Have you carefully proofread and eliminated all errors from your cover letters and printed them on resume stock using a high-quality printer? ___Yes ___ No

Resume Requirements

22. Have you identified a few key accomplishments for each position held? ___Yes ___ No

23. Have determined the best strategy for your objective (most important content to include, key words, etc.) and format (chronological, functional or some combination of the two) for my resume? ___Yes ___ No

24. Have you used action-oriented language that positions you for the level you are seeking while avoiding repetition of words/phrases? ___Yes ___ No

25. Have you eliminated all errors from your resumes and printed them on resume stock using a high-quality printer? ___Yes ___ No

26. Have you produced a dynamic resume that tells your story and stands out from other resumes (no templates)? ___Yes ___ No

Now tally your responses. If your “yes” answers total:

A. 24-26 you’re in great shape

B. 20-23 you need some fine-tuning

C.18-21 you need more preparation

D. under 18 you have a lot of work ahead of you

Louise Garver, CMP, CPRW, JCTC, CEIP, MCDP, has assisted senior executives and management clients worldwide in all aspects of job search, interviewing and negotiations, development of resume and marketing letters, career transition and career management since 1985. President of Career Directions, LLC, she is an award-winning, published and certified career coach, professional resume writer, outplacement consultant and former corporate recruiter. For help in winning the career your deserve, visit

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