"The trouble with the rat race is that if you win, you're still a rat!"
   — Lily Tomlin

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So…What Makes You So Special? Huh?

Hear the intonation in this question: it brings back taunts from the playground, put downs from parents and teachers… and, worse yet, our own inner voices that aren’t sure that we are all that special at all. Yet…and this is a big yet…you need to define why you are special — and what your specialty is — in order for an employer to hire you. Some job seekers think that they should emphasize all aspects of their background. After all, they’ve done, as an example, classic direct mail, managed a sales force, and learned the ins and outs of non-profit marketing/communications, why shouldn’t they talk about all three? Simple. Today, in our world of ultra-specialization, we look for experts; no, we can find experts, and, therefore, because they’re there, we insist on hiring them. Got a head cold, sneezing and eyes watering? After you see the internist, you might go to an allergist, an otolaryngologist, or even an infectious disease specialist. In the same vein, an employer often looks for a specialist. How many times have job seekers tried to cross over into a new industry, be welcomed with open arms, go through five interviews, and, at the last moment, come in second place…to someone who has had specialized industry experience? Therefore, it is necessary for all job seekers to define their specialty; what they do best; what they’ve had the most success with; and what they want to do the most of in the coming years. It’s not that you can’t be successful in other areas of marketing, but making a transition into another specialty or industry takes more time, effort, and, above all, luck. So spend some time thinking, defining, writing down and talking about what you do best; what your specialty is that will attract employers. As for what makes you special, in the more existential playground sense, is simple: it’s you! Which is more than good enough for most of us, but not necessarily your future employer.

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