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Competing for a Job

by Ron Kurtus (updated 17 December 2021)

Just about every job opening has a number of applicants with whom you are competing. You typically do not know who the other applicants are, so it is a blind competition, where the winner is judged on the impression he or she makes.

One factor in creating the winning impression include your background and experience, as stated in your resume. Then there is the impression you make during your interview. And finally, there are the recommendations and references you provide.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.


You do not get a job with a resume. It is a door-opener to get you an interview. However, factors in your resume can give you an edge over your competition.

Your education and job experience are very important in showing you are more qualified than the other candidates.

How you format your resume gives the employer an impression of how conscientious and what type of worker you are. Obviously, spelling errors, typos and grammatical mistakes will mark as points against you.

A good resume will help you beat out much of the competition in getting a job interview.


During the interview process, the employer or human resources manager will seek greater details on the work you have done to see how close it fits their needs, as well as to examine your knowledge. You need to be well-prepared and to put on a performance that will impress the manager.

However, what you say in your interview must not sound like you are bragging. A very important part of the interview is that they like you. The employer wants to see how well you will fit in. They may take a less qualified applicant that is likable and seems like he or she will fit into their culture.

The impression you make and how likeable you are in your interview must beat out that of your unseen competition.


Your personal and professional references allows the company to verify what type of person you are. Unless your competition has poor references, they usually aren't a major factor in their decision.

But what can really give you an edge is if you have a reference that is personally known by the employer or manager.

For example, once when I was applying for a job, the manager noted where I had previously worked at a company where his old college roommate also worked. He asked me if I knew him, and I did. Then he asked if he could call his friend and ask some questions about me. Although I barely knew the fellow, the fact that he gave a few good words about me allowed me to beat out the competition and win the job.

Referrals and references known by the employer can help you beat your competition for the job.


When you apply for a job, you are competing with the other applicants. This is a blind competition, because you typically do not know who the other applicants are. The winner is judged on the impression he or she makes. Your resume, interview and references must be better than your competition for the job.

Preparation can give you an edge

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


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