The Importance of Differentiation

Proactive Strategies for Differentiating Yourself in the Job Search

Today’s job market is incredibly competitive and, as more and more of you are finding out, the traditional system of finding employment which relies on “powerful” resumes and cover letters no longer works. Despite being reminded of this fact every day, your mindset still dictates that all you need to get noticed and get in the door is a great resume. However, you need to realize that resumes are a necessary evil and don’t help you meet your biggest challenge in the job market which is differentiation; in other words how do you separate yourself from your competition and get noticed?

The Importance of Differentiation

Spending countless hours sending out hundreds of resumes in response to job postings found through Internet job boards, company websites, newspapers, trade publications, the unemployment office or wherever they can be found, is REACTIVE. And that’s the approach 99% of job seekers take. If you’re following this approach you’re waiting for something to happen. You’re waiting to get noticed. And for all that hard work the response has predictably been dismal.

You need to increase your odds by being PROACTIVE and differentiating yourself through each of the three key steps of your job search:

(1)    To get to the interview process…

Build a professional network by targeting hiring managers in companies of interest. Don’t send your resume which will be routed automatically to HR and summarily rejected. Instead, use your Biography as an initial tool to introduce yourself to the hiring manager, conveying the value you bring to the table and how you can help. This way you’ll learn about jobs before they’re posted and you’ll be on the short list of candidates facing little competition.

(2)    During the interview process…

Don’t sit there clutching your sweat soaked resume, talking about what great things you accomplished for others in the past. Ask questions that focus on the issues and problems the hiring manager is facing now and how you can help solve them. That’s why you’re there! Stand out from your competition by using your Management Endorsements to answer the question: “Why should we hire you?”  This unique tool will help reinforce why you are the best candidate to fill the position.

(3)    After the conclusion of the entire interview process…

Don’t send a thank-you letter, card, or email to the hiring manager. Why? Because that’s what all the other candidates who interviewed for the same job will do! You need to differentiate yourself by sending your Post-Interview Packet directly to the hiring manager, providing a compilation of everything he or she needs to know to make the decision to hire YOU. By all means send a personalized thank-you card to all others you interacted with during the interview process. This strategy will clearly set you apart from your competition and greatly enhance your chances of winning the job offer.

While our economy continues to slowly improve the competition for good-paying jobs is still fierce. Your success will depend on how well you separate yourself from all others.


How well are you differentiating yourself?

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Greg Wood

Greg Wood is a Certified Career Management Professional, author of TheHireChallenge™ and TheHireTactics™ book series, and creator of TheHireRoad™ job search tutorial. Having experienced firsthand the challenges and anxiety of being unemployed several times during his 30 years of business experience, Greg brings a wealth of expertise to the field of career counseling. Greg is a frequent guest speaker at a variety of professional and career transition support groups throughout the Southwest, and has presented his unique perspective on job search on radio and television. For more information on strategic job search visit or email Greg at


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