How to stay attractive in a competitive market

March 2018

No need for courses and education, or…?

The number one factor that determines your professional success is your personality. Courses and education are still important, but for other reasons than you may think. Get insights from one of the leading recruiters in Life Science and learn her best tips and tricks on how you stay attractive in a competitive market.

“To be bold about it, I sometimes say that your competences will get you the job, but it is your personality that will get you fired. That is why it is in everyone’s interest to aim for a seamless fit between personality, job type and company culture,” explains Managing Director and founder of Best Talent, Helle Jørnung.


Denmark’s leading position in Life Science is at stake

Before we dive into the details of how you position yourself for your next job, let us look into the future. What are the changes do you see and where are we headed?

“In Denmark we are known to be in a leading position within Life Science. But a shortage of competent Life Science professionals demands us to open up and look outside Denmark for skilled people. And other countries do the same. The internet and new ways of communicating across cultures and time zones have made the world larger – and smaller at the same time. This means that being able to communicate and engage with people of different nationalities is a huge improvement. We all have to be flexible, empathic and good communicators making the personality increasingly important. For the companies one consequence is that they too have to stay appealing to candidates. Especially the younger generation will be happy to take a job outside Denmark if their demands are met. Professionals have to stand out and be visible, but the same goes for even the strongest of our brands in Life Science. You can take nothing for granted,” Helle elaborates.


This is why courses and education are still important

To compete in an ever-changing market, adapting to change is one major qualifier. We normally think of education and courses as a way to update our competences. However, an even more important bonus from your training efforts is that it helps you stay open to change. You train to learn new things, you meet new people and you expand your network. In that perspective one may argue that there are two reasons why you should still attend courses and keep your education up to date; it is a way of showing that you are eager to learn and adapt to new knowledge, but it is also a way for you to be noticed.

“It’s really interesting that while we see personality becoming more important, people are increasingly being selected on the basis of their competences. That’s a paradox, but there is a rational explanation to it. Most companies use search engines to single out candidates, and applicants’ resumes are stored in databases that filter by competences. Competences are much more simple to handle from a data point of view, which is why they are still equally important if you want to stand out,” Helle explains.


Make sure you benefit from education and courses

Some weeks ago we published an article about how to implement newly acquired knowledge in the organisation to make sure your company benefits from your training. For you to benefit as an individual, you should make it a priority to keep your online resume updated with your newly acquired competences. If it is not displayed online, it does not exist! Which brings us to Helle Jørnung’s list of dos and don’ts.


You want to get these three things right

With one future scenario being that the right candidates will be headhunted, then how do you position yourself to stand out? There are three critical steps: create attention, make yourself heard and make sure you leave the right impression. Helle Jørnung has a few dos and don’ts for each step that you may want to learn by heart:

Create attention – two “dos” and one “don’t” when navigating online

Do keep your resume updated on LinkedIn and in online databases – if it is not online it does not exist.
Do make sure your information is identical across platforms – irregularities cause unnecessary suspicion.
Don’t share party pictures or the like on social media – everything can be retrieved and it may not send the signal you want.


Make yourself heard – two “dos” and one “don’t” on initial contact

Do write a brief and relevant application – let your personality shine through, but make it about them, not you.
Do reach out and stand out – even if you do not match the formal criteria your personality matters, and a brief call can make a huge impact.
Don’t use random pictures in your application – too many people use pictures that are not in alignment with the impression they want to leave. Don’t be that person.


Leave the right impression – two “dos” and one “don’t” when in dialogue

Do show up as yourself – on a good day! Pretense or smooth talking will not do you any good. Be realistic about your preferences and do not try to be someone you are not.
Do dress for the occasion – you may have passed all the tests, but worn out shoes, shabby clothes or an overdressed outfit may give you away. The way you dress tells more about you than you can imagine.
Don’t hide anything – be honest and address issues up front. Sooner or later it will surface, and untold relevant information undermines trust.


How well do you know yourself?

You probably already have a fairly good idea about who you are and when you thrive in a job. Still it is important to stay curious and to explore new layers of your personality.

“At the end of the day knowing yourself is what matters. By being confident you can be more realistic about what makes you thrive and which types of job functions and work environments that make you shine and perform your best,” Helle wraps up.

Want to know yourself better? There is a lot of tests and books out there for personal development, and you have probably already been tested more than once. However, if you are curious to explore more and develop your strengths further, you can have a try with this valid online test Character Strengths Study.

Helle Jørnung, Managing Director and founder of Best Talent