Remember: Your Job Search is a Competition… So Compete!

In a job search, especially in today’s economy, which of these statements rings most true?

  1. “I’m exactly the person specified in the job description, so I should get the job.”
  2. “I’ve been out of work for two years. I should get the job.”
  3. “I have a Master’s degree… I should get the job.”
  4. “My Uncle owns the company, so I should get the job.”
  5. I should never count on getting a job – this is a competition, and I must compete.”

Answer ‘5’, of course!

Every job application is  much more than just an application. It’s your entrance into a competition. A sometimes difficult, exasperating, stressful… competition – with consequences for coming in second, and total joy and relief when you win.

Yet many job seekers – maybe 8 or 9 out of 10 – fail to truly compete.

The typical job seeker completes an application, or sends in an online resume. And that’s it. That’s like a marathon runner submitting the entrance form – and then never training, never committing to the challenge – and never running…

…and then complaining that they didn’t do well in the race.

Job seeking has always been you against someone else (unless your uncle does own the company). In our current economy, however, it isn’t just you against a couple peers… it is you against Boomers laid off two years ago willing to take a pay cut; former Gen X managers waiting their turn for the right job; and a horde of recent graduates desperate to enter the workforce (and avoid moving back in with their parents). Maybe five years ago you were competing against five people similar to you. Now, you’re up against against 20, 50… maybe 100 just-as-qualified-as-you applicants, or more.

So, here’s my advice: Put your game face on… and compete!

Each morning, get a little fired up. Commit, even if you’ve been in the search for a while and a positive attitude is becoming more and more difficult. Know that you MUST be better today, and even better tomorrow, to compete at a high level – and be a contender for every job that catches your eye.

Here’s the good news: your competition – every time they apply for the same jobs as you – starts the same place as you. Every time out, you’re starting fresh – with a new opportunity to excel, and learn.

Remember that old joke, with two woodsman being chased by a grizzly?

–   “Where are you going so fast?” one says to the other, “You can’t outrun that hungry bear!”
–   “I don’t have to outrun the bear”, the man sprinting away says, “I only have to outrun YOU!”

Now THAT is a person who knows he’s in a competition.

Do you compete?


About the Author: CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt is a serial entrepreneur and mentor. Mark has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and regarding job search, career development, internships and higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce. A keynote speaker and blogger, Mark’s contributions include Huffington Post Live,, The Daily Muse, Alltop, PRDaily,, and Intern Advocate.

Mark has been honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors” and was recently featured on HR Examiner’s “Top 25 Trendspotters in HR” and several top blogger lists, including JobMob’s “Top Career Bloggers of 2011”. Contact Mark via email or on Twitter!





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