Attention Job Seekers: The Secret To Landing The Role You Want


Mindset is a big factor in success, and just a small tweak can change everything. In a job search, your mindset impacts your entire approach and if you can make this one mantra the basis for your search, you’ll put together an effective strategy that will land you the role:

“It’s not about you.”

The job search is not about you, the job seeker. Yet, that is typically the foundation that most applicants build their whole job search strategy upon. Your process typically begins with what you are interested in, followed by what title you’d like, how much you want to make, the geography where you’re willing to commute, and the companies you’d consider joining.

These aspects are critical to creating your “Plan A” – your job search target. But once you have a clear goal, your mindset needs to shift. A company is going to pay you to solve a specific problem, and that needs to be the center of your strategy. Once your Plan A is set, now it’s all about the employer.

From your resume through the negotiating process, when you frame your campaign in terms of how your value solves an organization’s (or client’s) greatest challenges, you may be surprised at how positive the response will be.  Here’s how to do it:


While personal brands get mixed reviews by some, having one will significantly up your career management game, especially when in a job search. Establishing a brand is a way to show how you’re different from people who do similar work and will increase your marketability, worth and opportunities.

The first step is identifying your audience, including their pain points. To create a solid brand, you need a clear target for your message. Also, you likely have several worthwhile accomplishments and qualities, but the beauty of a clear brand is knowing which ones your audience will care most about. A great brand doesn’t appeal to everyone. That may be tough to swallow, but the reality is that if you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll likely appeal to no one. Your brand will be diluted and come across as “meh,” which is not how to stand out.

Resume and LinkedIn

Once you have a clear target audience, it’s time to put your marketing materials together to highlight how your abilities and achievements will translate into creating value for your new audience. Avoid a list of tasks and responsibilities, and instead, include quantifiable, specific accomplishments that show how your work positively impacted the bottom line of previous employers (for tips on this, click here). When you show that you understand how your knowledge and expertise impacts a company’s profits, it helps your target audience understand how you’ll create value in their organization if hired.

Cover Letter

Elite sales professionals know that closing a deal is all about the customer. When writing a cover letter, grab your audience from the start with a catchy opening sentence about the industry, a relevant quote, or the name of a person who referred you. Avoid the common (and boring!), “Please find my resume enclosed...” opener. The cover letter is your opportunity to show a little personality and connect with your audience.

In our one-click world, reading lengthy paragraphs has become obsolete. Spice it up, and write a tailored cover letter that demonstrates you’re willing to go the extra mile. Avoid starting every sentence with “I.” Yes, the letter is about you, but it comes across as redundant and egotistical if line after line begins with “I am…” and “I have…”  And yes, a custom cover letter IS recommended. Not all hirers will read it, but you don’t want to risk skipping this step for those who expect it.


This is about building relationships so it should be a no-brainer that these conversations should focus on learning about the other person. Of course, if you’re in a serious job search, it’s also critical to balance your curiosity with relaying your brand value in a way that your connections can understand and advocate for.  But that doesn’t mean spewing a list of accomplishments onto your unsuspecting coffee date. Rather, like your resume, share how your skills positively impact the market or clients. This gives your contacts the language to use when introducing you to others and also increases your chances of being referred for open roles. Many organizations have employee referral programs since they know these are effective ways to hire new talent. You could be helping your contact out by being a fantastic referral.


Questions about your strengths and weaknesses, greatest accomplishments or unique abilities are completely focused on you. However, the best candidates know how to tie their responses back to what is important to the interviewer. When sharing an achievement related to a customer win, show how the skills you engaged will also have a positive impact for your new company’s clients. When choosing which strengths to highlight, choose the ones that are most aligned with the new role, and take it one step further – add an example that specifically shows how you can apply those strengths to succeed in your target role (learn more here). Most applicants either don’t think to do this or are too nervous to try, so this can give you a big advantage. Do the work and connect the dots for the hiring managers in the interview, rather than risking that they’ll take the time to do it after you leave (hint: many won’t!).


In order for retailers to charge premium pricing for a product or service, they must show customers why it’s more valuable to them. In the salary negotiation process, you must do that as well. And it’s not enough just to speak about the qualities. What matters are the qualities that are of most interest to your specific audience. For example, if you’re selling a vehicle to a young family, emphasizing speed and a killer sound system will be less effective than pointing out reliability and safety enhancements. All of these features may exist in the same vehicle, but highlighting what is most important to your target audience will sell the car.

When you create a job search strategy that focuses on how your employer will benefit from your strengths and knowledge, you build a compelling case for being the candidate of choice and earning more money.

Happy Hunting!

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