I have to admit that I’m not competitive and when it comes to losing, I don’t mind one bit. The exception for me in terms of competing pertains to interviewing. I am a totally different person when it comes to applying for a role and being selected for an interview. Once I receive a call for an interview, it’s automatic- game face on! I think about everything from my attire to what questions might be asked of me without neglecting the basics. Of course, my resume, cover letter, and portfolio are all flawless but after the interview, I have to remind myself of one very important thing. The competitive mindset that I possess while interviewing has to show up as an employee so that I maintain a competitive advantage. If you are looking to gain a competitive advantage in your work environment, I would suggest the following:
Research the competition. Competition can come in the form of people or businesses. There are people at work who perform better than you and more than likely, you can learn something from them. Observe your competitors, increase your business strengths, and implement the necessary behaviors that will allow you to excel. You should research other businesses so that you understand why they are ahead of the organization you work for. If you just so happen to work for an organization that’s in the top spot, be mindful that the firm in second place is looking to be #1. You should be able to have a conversation with colleagues and leaders of the business about what similar companies are doing. I googled the name of my company some months ago and when I typed in My Next Level , I was listed third, which didn’t make me happy. I decided that I would like to see my firm listed first, so I implemented a new behavior that would drive traffic to my site. I am now #2, looking forward to being #1.
Learn an additional language. Companies across the globe are looking for bilingual candidates and if you want to remain competitive, speaking another language fluently won’t hurt. I studied Spanish some years ago and didn’t use the language consistently. Next year, I plan to take a few Spanish courses so that I can communicate with others and also remain competitive. There are plenty of non-profit organizations who are looking for volunteers who speak both English and Spanish. I would love to be able to help others using a language other than my own.
Know the business. As a leader and someone who stands apart from others, you have to be able to articulate what transpires as it pertains to the company’s organizational and departmental strategies. It isn’t enough to show up and do your job, you should be aware of the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Dress the part. I’ve heard people say “dress for where you want to go”. In other words, your goal might be C-level or the C-suite and your professional attire should reflect that. It is possible to present yourself well, even in this economy. I love to find bargains and I shop during “off season”. Paying full price for something just because it’s fashionable during a certain time of the year doesn’t work for me. I love to find a nice boot sale in February or March because retailers are looking to sell whatever they have to make way for spring/summer items.
Exceed performance expectations. As a leader, I was grateful for employees who came to work and did their jobs. However, the ones who excelled and exceeded expectations were consistently noticed by my leader and other business leaders. Those who don’t do their jobs have a reputation for doing so, average team members tend to blend in, and exceptional performers stand above the crowd.
More from this contributor:
5 Setbacks to Career Success
Is Your Negativity Isolating You at Work?
Electronic Communication in the Workplace