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Make It Happen Tipsheet
Career Management and Life Balance

Becoming the Perfect Candidate

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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Make It Happen
Copyright 2006 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved. Publication date: April 18, 2006