May 14, 2004, Newsletter Issue #17: Nix this phrase!

Tip of the Week

Here’s a phrase recruiters see and hear all the time that means nothing: “The Right Opportunity.” And frequently, when I asked people to define it, they didn`t even know what they meant by it!

THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITY, by itself, is a very ambiguous and subjective phrase. Define what “the right opportunity” means to you BEFORE you start your job hunt, and certainly before you begin to interview.

Do you prefer smaller companies where you can roll up your sleeves and wear many hats?

Or smaller companies that need help growing?

Are you a corporate guy who wants to work his way through different positions or divisions to the VP level, aiming eventually for General Manager?

Is that why you got your MBA?

Or are you hoping a company will pay your way through school to get your MBA?

Are you looking to develop your leadership skills and get into management?

Do you want to stay part of the team instead of being a leader of the team?

Do you want to travel? Not travel? Work alone? In a group? Develop? Or just implement? Solve problems and clean up? Or come into a company that is running smoothly?

The RIGHT OPPORTUNITY for one person is clearly NOT the RIGHT OPPORTUNITY for someone else. Without a definition, it says nothing for you or about you.

Do some thinking about what that phrase means to you, and convey THAT idea instead. And while you are conveying that idea, tie it into what you know about the company with whom you are interviewing.

You present yourself as someone who takes their career seriously and knows exactly what you want. Thinking in this manner and presenting yourself this way gives you the edge over most candidates - who are just winging it.

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