Believe it or not, job hunting is similar to starting a new relationship—personal or professional. In the beginning, you determine what you both have in common—your needs and wants. Then, as the relationship continues, you combine your differences to form a well-rounded partnership.
To be successful at job hunting, you have to generate interest in your qualifications, background and experience, and the personal attributes you could bring to the job that distinguish you from the other applicants. So how do you proceed in using common ground to your advantage? First, you have to find that common ground. Second, you need to capitalize on those similarities, while still standing out among the competition. Let’s discuss these two steps here.
Finding Common Ground
Locating the “common ground” means first doing research on your target companies. Check out their websites to learn their current focus, new products, and guiding philosophy. Review the profiles of the company’s leaders to see what schools they attended, their work experience, and their qualifications—all avenues to seeking out common ground.
Keep in mind that regardless of whether you are an accountant, lawyer, marketing executive, sales manager, or health care professional, we are all hired to solve a problem and provide excellent customer service. This, in fact, is a primary way to capitalize on common ground since we are all problem solvers and customer service-oriented professionals.
Let’s take Emory Healthcare as a common ground example. If you go to Emory Healthcare’s website, you will see that we are looking not only for professionals who want more than a job, but for those who wish to change the world for the better. Right on our Career Center landing page, you’ll discover that our mission is “To Serve Humanity by Improving Health.” Just like that, with a quick click of your mouse, you can see and connect with our mission. You can also quickly learn that we are an academic institution with an emphasis on collaboration. This type of information isn’t hiding; it is out there for everyone to learn about our organization so future team members can find out if a career home with us is what they want.
Capitalize on the Common Ground
Once you have found the common ground with potential employers, you will more easily see how that relates to your own experience, education, work philosophy, and career goals. Then, you can make sure you have this linkage included in the information in your cover letter, résumé, and application.
Let’s take Emory Healthcare as an example again. As an applicant for a position at Emory Healthcare, if you graduated from Emory be sure you highlight your Emory education. If you chose your career with the purpose of making a difference in the lives of others, discuss that. If part of your work experience has included working in learning and progressive organizations where collaboration and quality work outcomes and customer service were strategic initiatives, then make sure that is referenced in your résumé and/or application.
Your job search is a personal effort to establish a professional relationship with a prospective employer. By conducting the research, pointing out common goals, and highlighting your experience and qualifications, you will generate interest in what you bring to the job and get closer to obtaining an interview.
In particular, at Emory Healthcare, you have built-in common ground! We appreciate your Emory education and value the interest you have already expressed through the Emory Alumni Association (EAA). Visit our website for possible career opportunities. Please note the Application Know-How section, should you have any issues.
If you have any questions about our organization or this article, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to assist you with information regarding positions at Emory Healthcare.
Myra Wheeler, SPHR, is a nurse recruiter for Emory Healthcare and a seasoned HR professional with over 20 years of experience in recruiting and HR. She has worked for Emory for over 15 years, including four years in Career Planning & Placement.