One important way that you can improve your odds in the job search is to research and be aware of the competition. There are two kinds of competition in this context: other companies in your field and other professionals in roles similar to yours. Always know who they are and what they’re doing. Endeavor to “know the competition better than they know themselves.” This will greatly enhance your competitiveness on many levels, and it will also allow you to jump on opportunities that others might not yet be aware of!

Here’s an example of how important it is to be “plugged into” your competitors. One of my clients is the President of a small advertising agency. Her client base is solid, her creative work is excellent, and she makes a very good living in this role. But the thing that my client is most proud of is the fact that her firm is the envy of every small-to-medium sized agency in town. Not because of the creative awards my client has won, and not because of how impressive her offices are – although these are certainly noteworthy achievements.

“Endeavor to know the competition better than they know themselves.”

The reason my client is so envied is that she always seems to land the most prestigious accounts and the most interesting assignments. My client also has a real knack for getting the best designers in the region to work for her. The other agency owners in the region just stand around, shaking their heads in disbelief and frustration. “How does she do it?” they ask themselves, repeatedly.

Well, just between you and me – it’s not because my client’s work is so much better than the work of the other agencies. No, the way she keeps winning, over and over, is that her investigative research is superior to that of any of her competitors. She makes it her business to know what’s going on in her market – what company is doing what, which accounts are going to which agencies, who’s working for whom, what challenges or trends are affecting local companies – and all the rest. The bottom line is simply that my client is far more “plugged in” – and she has used this knowledge to beat-out the competition, time and time again!

“When interviewing, your competitive intelligence will serve as a differentiator.”

So what does this mean for you? It means you should start to “research your way to success.” Read industry web sites and publications, trade magazines, your local Business Journal, your daily newspaper’s business section, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, and so on. Pay attention to other local, regional and national sources of “business intelligence,” such as association newsletters, podcasts and radio/TV programs. Follow all the information on social media that relates to your field, and set-up “alerts” in your web browsers.

Start to “connect the dots” and communicate your expertise, your ideas, and your value in terms relevant to the current business landscape. Connect with people, companies and groups that you read about and have interest in.

During the interviewing phase of your job search, your “competitive intelligence” will serve as a differentiator. “Having your finger on the pulse” of your industry and your local business market will also make you more attractive to prospective employers and recruiters.

“The more you know about the competition, the more empowered you’ll be.”

If you can move and shake with the movers and shakers, so much the better. If you can’t – you should at least know what they’re thinking, what they’re worried about, and what opportunities they see ahead.

The more you know about the competition – companies and individuals – the more empowered you’ll be in your job search and entire career!

Author's Bio: 

Ford R. Myers is an award-winning career coach and President of Career Potential, LLC. He is author of the best-seller, Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Ford’s firm helps clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! He has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms. Ford’s articles and interviews have appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, television and radio networks. He has also conducted presentations at many companies, associations and universities. Learn more at or contact Ford directly at 1-610-649-1778.