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Rude Awakening: In Your Job Search, It’s Not All About You

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If you think about it, the job search is a very selfish process. After all, the job seeker is spending all of their time talking about themselves. My experience, my skills, my goals, me, me, me. In a competitive job market where employers are staring at a mountain of resumes from applicants talking about themselves, how does someone stand out?

Job seekers, you’re in for a wake-up call: it’s not all about you. In the hiring process, employers ultimately want to find someone who can help the company, not the other way around. Applicants who understand this truth will naturally stand out amongst the unemployed masses and get more interviews.

Of course, job search documents should be about you, just not all about you. Think of it as, you and the company. Or better yet, the company and you.

The next time you’re writing to a company that you’d like to work for, keep these three tips in mind:

Get to know the company — intimately

It’s true that you might be sending application after application to dozens of companies everyday, but if you don’t do your research beforehand, your effort is completely wasted. Basic or shallow research won’t cut it. You need to really learn about the company, its employees and its spot in the marketplace. If you know the company, you’ll be better equipped to communicate what you offer in the context of the organization’s needs. It will also show throughout the hiring process.

Analyze the partnership

Once you’ve done the research, think about what your application means for the company. Think about the needs of the company, its shortcomings and strengths, along with those of their competitors in the field you’re applying. Get down to what makes this company special (or what it needs to become special). What are your strengths? How would they complement the company or department?

Write about yourself (in terms of the company)

Instead about thinking of this open position as the job you want, think of it as the gap the company needs you to fill. Keep your focus on the company as you write your resume, cover letter, or one-page proposal. Concentrate on the company’s specific needs and how you can assess them.

Joanna Riley Weidenmiller is the CEO of The One-Page Company. Prior to launching One-Page, Joanna was the CEO of Performance Advertising. Joanna earned her BA in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and lives between Beijing, China, and San Francisco.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • Anonymous

    Great points. I’m amazed by the amount of job seekers who don’t address your last point in their cover letters.

  • Imagenes_graciosas

    Thanks for all. Great website

  • Diana Antholis

    Yup! This is exactly it – you have to think, What does the company need and how do I fit into that?

  • SLO Marketing

    I would highly recommend doing A LOT of research on the company you are applying to. Preferably, only apply to companies that fit certain criteria you’ve set. Nothing worse than getting a new job and realizing it’s not a good fit and facing the prospect of looking for a new job. Again.

  • Albert

    you, i am very selfish that why i was not accepted by any big company so started my own tiny one.
    Some times it can help in growing faster the estimated.

  • nickadams1

    Hey joanna,
    I like what you told about all regarding job and your tips are damn interesting. these must be followed by every one who are seeking job.
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  • Darrenreacher

    There is also the fact that the research done on the companies needs will further benefit you during the actual interview. Win, win really.

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  • Sarah

    So true, Joanna! Companies want to know what you can do for them.