3 Tips to Stand Out from Your Competition

large group of smiling business people standing together

large group of smiling business people standing together

Jordan WarshafskyBy Jordan Warshafsky, Partner, Ashton Tweed


THE BAD NEWS: Over the past few years, thousands of jobs have been eliminated. The life sciences industry has never had so many experienced professionals looking for new career opportunities.


THE GOOD NEWS: Jobs are out there and companies, small and large, are hiring. At Ashton Tweed, we’ve placed numerous people, across many disciplines and levels, during the first three quarters of 2014.


THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Differentiating yourself from the rest of the crowd. Some people have no idea how to conduct a job search, let alone how to stand out in a group of applicants. Why should you know how? Many life sciences professionals have worked for a number of years at the same companies and haven’t had the opportunity to develop job-hunting skills. But the working world has changed as has the job search process, and you never know when you might need to use these skills.


It isn’t as difficult as you might think. Here are 3 tips to help you stand out from your competition:


Tip #1: Think perfection.

Strive for perfection in everything you do. Remember that every contact you make is part of the job interview process. Be sure you write every email with the same care and attention you pay to your résumé. (Assuming you pay a great deal of attention to writing your résumé. If you don’t, you should.) Companies may refuse a great candidate due to a few errors in his/her résumé, cover letter, or emails.


Have a third party read your résumé — not for content — but for perfection. In terms of content, your résumé needs to be absolutely honest and accurate. Do not exaggerate. The truth is always easier to defend.


Dress perfectly and be on time for interviews, phone calls, or any other meetings with potential employers. First impressions count — always. You need to be “on” at all times.


Tip #2: Take stock of yourself.

Many job hunters overstate their skills. They claim they can do anything as long as the job description vaguely describes their skill set. Be realistic — this is a great time to differentiate yourself! With so many candidates on the market, companies are able to hire people with exactly the right skill set.


Know who you are and what you do best. Sell to your strengths and not your weaknesses. Skills are becoming less and less transferable from discipline to discipline.


Create a written marketing plan for yourself. Then follow that plan. You will be surprised how much more effective you can be if you truly understand yourself. You may not have been a salesperson in your past, but now you are and your product is you.


Tip #3: Do your homework.

We talk to many candidates, and it’s amazing how many people don’t do their homework. They don’t fully research the company they’re seeking to work for. We ask everyone, “Why do you want to work for our client?” You would be amazed at the range of poor answers we get in return. Clearly, these people didn’t do their homework. Thorough preparation is an easy way to stand out. You would be surprised how many people do not prepare properly. All of the data is out there. Many people just don’t bother and, therefore, will not get the job. But you can get that job just by applying some effort.


For more solutions, contact the job-hunting experts of Ashton Tweed: Click here.

Share your insights! Contact jamesrudman@ashtontweed.com to contribute your life sciences article as a guest writer.


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