Rather than blending in, you want to stand out.
It is not what you have in common with the other 50 candidates that will get you noticed. Rather, it is what is distinctive, from a value perspective, which will get you noticed.
Things like your degree, your credentials, your career climb/job titles are all things you share with your competition. Your thought leadership, problem-solving ability, and strategic initiatives are where and how you differentiate yourself—and—the foundation of your value to a prospective organization.
Choose to step away from the herd so you can stand out from the crowd, even when that feels like a scary thing to do.
Don’t do it the same; do it differently.
One of the things I hear often from my finance professional clients is, “I looked at some of my peers’ LinkedIn profiles and did mine the same way.” Can you hear the hooves of the herd approaching?
When you are creating visibility, the last thing you want is to look like everyone else. Whatever your colleagues are doing—unless they’ve got a great career coach—do it differently. For example, on LinkedIn:
- If everyone else is using a job title instead of a headline, use a headline.
- If everyone else has a boring one paragraph summary, use all 2,000 characters you are allotted to write something compelling.
- Move away from the three-piece stuffed suit professional headshot, unless you want to work in an office where three-piece suits are the norm. Be different, and leverage your brand while being different.
Stand in the narrow place; avoid the wide space.
Jobseekers have a tendency to become that candidate who can do all things for all people (and companies). It seems to make sense. It is counter, though, to what is actually effective. I see this frequently with job postings. Changing your resume to fit every job posting you see means you are frenetically jumping around that wide space rather than standing firm in the narrow space—understanding and delivering your value message to a targeted audience. The wide space dilutes your message while the narrow place strengthens it.
Think of it this way. If a bait fish could choose to swim in the ocean or a small pond, where is he likely to be more visible? The smaller body of water! So you will be more visible in the narrow place where there are a lot fewer candidates standing.
The days of conducting a “quick and easy” job search have gone the way of the dinosaur. You, as a future potential CFO candidate, don’t have to, and should not want to, follow the herd to extinction.