My family likes the Gala variety and they are inexpensive, so I often go for those when I’m the one shopping (Tracie and I trade off). At first glance they all appeared the same, but looking closer I could see that while none were perfect, some were a better match of what I was looking for.
Those that I chose had an unfair advantage over the rest.
But are you aware of them and do you highlight or promote them? Most job seekers, not just hygienists, simply do what everyone else does and give potential employers a list of places they have worked, where they went to school, and tasks they know how to do – hoping that will somehow be enough.
But if everyone or most present themselves the same way, how is an employer to know what makes anyone unique or different?
Why not make a statement right from the start that you are going to be different to get different – do the uncommon things to get the uncommon results.
It all begins with your unfair advantages – things that make you who you are. Again, Everyone has them, but very few will take that next step and promote them.
Your Unfair Advantages
Everyone has at least five areas of unfair advantages:
- Who you know
You could also make a strong case that proximity (or how far away you live from an office) that gives you an unfair advantage. And there are probably a few others too, but I think it’s important that you focus most of your attention on the five main areas mentioned above.
Also keep in mind, your unfair advantages could be individual things or the combination of several that inter-related. They may be enormous or only slight. But they are all important for you to identify.
Breaking Them Down With Examples
First, let’s identify them.
- Skills: What routine dental hygiene tasks, skills or duties are you especially good at – better than the average hygienist? Some hygienists feel they are particularly good at educating and teaching patients, while others get great results treating perio patients.
- Training: Do you have any additional training that not every hygienist has? Could be the use of lasers, or maybe you have a bachelors degree in dental hygiene.
- Experiences: What unique experiences have you had? Special emphasis should be on ones that infer something about you (the type of employee you are). A couple months ago, my wife had a patient that had a seizure in the chair. Tracie has had previous experience helping people with seizures so she was able to spot the issue immediately and stabilize it. I had one client a few months ago that spotted a cancer growth and ended up saving the life of a patient.
- Personality: What is your personality like? Are you extremely well organized or the life of the party? Are you patient with children or really good at building relations with adults? There is no right or wrong, it’s just who you are. One office may want the life of the party, while another prefers someone more serious.
- Who You Know: How big is your professional network? Do you only know the staff in your office or have you have contacts at several offices? Have you restricted your contact to just professionals in your local association or do you have wide network the spans the globe?
Now Let’s Highlight and Promote Your Unfair Advantages
There are three places to do this:
- In your job hunting materials,
- At job interviews, and
- As you participate in professional meetings and functions
When creating your job hunting materials, clearly word your unfair advantages through out. Sprinkle them into your resume, cover letter, postcards, business cards, and website. Then go the extra mile, create more unfair advantages by having a resume that looks and reads like you have got it all together. Add some color and graphics, coordinate the look of your materials, and don’t forget to create a Testimonial Sheet, where your fans are given the chance to back you up or confirm the unfair advantages you talk about it your materials.
Next, share actual stories and experiences of these unfair advantages. Job materials are all about telling a potential employer about your advantages and job interviews are all about giving examples of them. Be ready with a story or experience for each of them. Stories and examples help employers make stronger connections with what you are telling them and are a huge way to win them over.
Finally, networking with other professionals gives you and them a chance to create and build strong relationships. They can see and experience you for who you really are – that you are normal, that you work hard, that you are nice, or whatever your unfair advantages you have to offer. There’s very little that substitutes for actual experiences with people and only way to do that is to put yourself out there – network.
Also keep in mind that networking doesn’t have to be all in-person. While it’s better to meet people that way, you can do it virtually and also just as importantly, you can nurture existing relationships though digital communications (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Pinterest).
One final related note…
Do you feel like you only have one or two unfair advantages and want more? Whether you have one or dozens, keep building on existing ones and create new ones throughout your career.
Always look for opportunities to improve a core skill, get trained on a new technique, learn from a new experience, develop your interpersonal relations, and meet new people.
This is your career – your passion – make the most of it. Carp diem! Do that and you will always have plenty of professional unfair advantages to help get you land a great job.