You know the type… the go-getters, the “most wanted” and the “40 under 40” types (no matter your age). These gold-dusted competitors in your job search pose a serious threat to your ability to attract and close employers on the idea of hiring you. So how do you compete for roles when they’re on the scene?

You know that competition in a job search is already fierce, especially for roles at in-demand companies. These companies have the luxury of picking through the candidate pool for high-potential hires who will deliver innovative solutions or go above and beyond for an employer. So what can you do to make sure your job search dreams won’t be dashed if one of these high-potential competitors breezes in during your search?

Here are our suggestions to help you compete for roles – and identify the top opportunities – associated with a competitive job search.

Focus on the Opportunities that Match Your Own Profile

Unless you’re coming FROM a Facebook, Google, or similar companies that give you a personal brand you can leverage across industries, you’ll compete for top roles if you stay in your own sandbox.

There’ll be a limited number of qualified top employers in your “zone of focus” – that sector where you’re qualified to step in from day one, given your prior experience. Narrowing your efforts on these specific organizations is one way to capture attention from them before the “golden child” competitor comes strolling onto the scene. Create a profile of ideal employers based on data such as:

  • Match % to Your Industry: Are they competitors (check your non-compete agreement if you have one)? Vendors? Companies that use the same technology but in a different way? Assign a “match score” to potential employers and prioritize your efforts accordingly.
  • Vendor expansion: Think about the vendors you use currently; if you have a good relationship with the account manager, ask (carefully so you don’t seem like a job seeker) what other companies in the industry may be considering them, and what’s emerging for best practices. Those other companies might exist on the early end of a solution you know like the back of your hand, and may want a trusted guide as they implement.
  • Growth rate. For the companies you’re thinking of targeting, track their number of postings; where are they expanding, why, and what problems are they looking to solve? Be prepared to pounce if you see an employer in high-growth mode.

Trim Your Speed of Outreach Times with Better Preparation

Getting to great job opportunities before your competition is key to keeping your job search funnel filled with high quality roles. When properly done, your rapid outreach for new opportunities enables you to be “first to market” and compete for roles by setting the benchmark for future candidates. If you understand your materials well and how/why to edit them quickly, and how to activate your network, you’ll be ahead of the game.

Create the Best Interview Experience Possible

While the total interview experience may be somewhat out of your control, your preparedness, your ability to speak to emerging trends, and your targeted networking can significantly improve this important part of the hiring process.

Whether it’s the ability to suss out the hiring manager’s true needs, the ability to tell the right (brief) stories on your interviews, and/or your calm, competent relatability, you’ll be able create strategies to decrease the odds of losing out on matching job opportunities.

Use Data to Attract More Companies

Instead of guessing, use analytics to continuously monitor your job search funnel for important ratios such as outreach-to-conversation, interview close rate, and the number of connections you make that lead to active job opportunities. This enables you to better track your job search and implement the correct evidence-based corrections to increase the likelihood you’ll be competitive against your peers.

Constantly Re-Evaluate

Whatever data you use for your job search, remember that the use of analytics is never a “set-it-and-forget-it” approach. In order for your job search to be successful, you must constantly seek out new opportunities to position yourself as an industry expert and to improve your job search close rate.

Through the use of data and the right market strategy, you too can become the “competitor to beat” that comes out on top for job opportunities.