Experts, after all, have something hiring managers want: knowledge, skills, and expertise. Job hunters want something: namely, a job. When you establish yourself as an expert, you validate your credibility and increase your desirability.
Unfortunately most individuals in the job market never stop to determine their areas of expertise and in fact don't think of themselves in those terms. Instead they plunge into the job hunt with the simple objective to "get a job, any job."
Let's look at seven distinct advantages an "expert" has over a "job seeker:"
1. An expert knows and values her skills and expertise. She is clear about her offer, states it confidently, and makes it easy for employers to "buy" her services.
The job seeker is neither clear nor confident about what makes her valuable. Instead she tries to be whatever the potential employer wants.
2. An expert demonstrates her value in every interaction from day one. She knows offering value is the most effective way to gain an employer's trust.
On the other hand, the job seeker telegraphs her need and desperation by not recognizing her value and by settling for whatever she can get rather than establishing her worth.
3. An expert thinks big. She understands the larger concept of work versus job. She determines what work needs to be done in a given situation, then explores a variety of options for doing it. She knows that while jobs may be eliminated, there is always work to be done.
The job seeker thinks small. She focuses on a specific job requiring a finite set of skills; when the need for those skills is eliminated, so is she.
4. An expert confidently makes new connections and seeks hidden "pre-market" opportunities. She realizes that the best opportunities are not dangling from Internet job sites but are often hidden from immediate view.
The job seeker focuses solely on posted or online openings not realizing that 80 percent to 90 percent of jobs are never posted and that the best ones are found through networking.
5. An expert uses a variety of marketing approaches, resources, and tools rather than relying solely on a résumé to get the job done. When everyone else is flooding the market with résumés she uses creative strategies to get in the door. As a result she is viewed as innovative, valuable, and worth paying well.
The job seeker constantly struggles to differentiate herself from the pack. She presents herself as a commodity and ends up competing on price rather than value.
6. Rather than looking for "open" jobs, an expert effectively identifies and targets companies that can benefit from her expertise. She seeks out interesting, "best fit" organizations and approaches their key decision-makers with an offer of assistance.
The job seeker chases anything and everything that comes down the pike, wasting time on low return-on-investment activities. She would rather force the fit than step out of her comfort zone. The "I'll take anything" approach diminishes her and results in fewer opportunities in the long run.
7. An expert approaches interviews and other opportunities to meet with potential employers with confidence, knowing that each has something of value to offer the other. She comfortably presents her skills and qualifications, earning trust by demonstrating value and integrity.
The job seeker approaches interviews with trepidation; desperately hoping the hiring manager will overlook her shortcomings and give her the job.
So which would you rather be, respected expert or one of a thousand indistinguishable job seekers desperately seeking a job, any job? You decide!