It is sink or swim out in the job market today. Whether laid-off or gainfully employed, I often ask my clients about their key motivation during a job search – these are the top four answers:

  • 1. A new career path
  • 2. Better/Fair compensation
  • 3. Reached a career plateau
  • 4. Feel unappreciated

Another seemingly irrelevant question I ask is the following: What is the biggest misconception your peers have about you?

As a professional “headhunter”, the answers I get from questions like these, give me an idea of where I will place you in my “talent pool”.

As a candidate, you want to be in the shallow end, floating on a comfy inflatable lounger. The deep end is very saturated with other candidates, you will need a life jacket and you’ll easily sink.

In my business, I use a specialized ATS system (Applicant Tracking Software) my clients pay me a “finders fee” for the top shelf candidates – the ones who have strong leadership traits and innate industry talent, otherwise known as the shallow end of the talent pool.

A candidate once told me that they felt as though recruiters treated him as a commodity, that is almost true but with the help of a good “head hunter” your skill-set can be leveraged all around the world.

Here are my three top tips on how to float above the rest in my pool, this is key for getting the career you want:

1. Get a second opinion

Request an opinion from someone currently working in the industry or field you are hoping to break into, ask them to scan your résumé and see what special details can be added. (sometimes industry jargon can put you in the lead)

2. Stay assertive and tenacious

Never give up. The gatekeepers will always be there – but if you have the will, there is always a way to get around them.

3. In this tough economy sometimes it is about WHO you know

Don’t forget, make a plan to overcome your weaknesses and express this strategy to your potential employer, because you can’t be perfect at everything – but it shows a willingness to learn!

These tips will help you to swim circles around the rest of the job applicants and get you closer to the career you want.

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