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This One Thing Sets Apart Great Candidates

A-Players establish a legacy by making an impact.

The most talented job candidates I’ve met over the years focus on opportunities where they can make the most impact. They don’t chase cool, trendy companies because they aren’t focused on being cool or trendy. Instead, they pursue positions where they can make the biggest difference in driving change or growth, or both.

These individuals have the long-range perspective to understand that they will propel their careers by being in a position to share success stories where they made a significant impact on the health and growth of a business. Success stories are necessary whether it’s for internal trajectory purposes, pursuing opportunities outside their current organization or even to make a career pivot.

They believe that showcasing the value they can make on top and bottom line growth  makes them more marketable, and they’re right. The A-Players are those known for self-discipline, work ethic, integrity, proclivity to take action, and much more. Hiring managers fight over them because they deliver what they promise, and they deliver big.

The “impact dynamic”

For these professionals, success depends on their opportunities to engage with what Sander and Mechele Flaum, co-authors of the book Boost Your Career, call the “impact dynamic.” That’s defined as projects that make a resounding difference in an organization, impress key stakeholders, and distinguish overachievers from the pack.

High performers focus on pursuing opportunities that will inspire them to do their best work  and achieve meaningful goals. It doesn’t have to be a powerful corporation. In fact, nimble start-upscan provide the mission and energy that allows for a greater sense of ownership, more room for an entrepreneurial mindset, and a greater opportunity to move the needle.

Rather than being motivated by external rewards, recognition, and performance metrics, the top performers seek to achieve more of their potential, connect with others, and (drum roll, please) make an impact.

As a 2014 Deloitte Insights report noted, “In the world of the Big Shift, where the need for continual change is becoming more apparent, passionate employees are the ones who can help companies build resilience and navigate the world of constant disruption.”

Selling your career

At Talentfoot, we help professionals connect the dots between their skills and experiences to develop a narrative that does more than burnish their resumes. If A-Players want to land positions that will drive impact in a competitive job market, they need to showcase specifically how they will make a difference and the value they bring a prospective employer.

All job seekers need an elevator pitch that explains in 30 seconds or less the impact they made for their most recent employer and previous ones. It’s a script that needs to be clear, focused, and practiced.

Our job as executive recruiters is to communicate to hiring managers how a candidate has set meaningful objectives and conquered those objectives to become change-makers in their fields. If they’ve done it more than once, it’s practically assumed these talented individuals can do it again. And they do.

Has this shifted your approach to the types of opportunities you will be pursuing in the future?