Finding and landing that dream job isn’t just about gaining job-seeking skills, it’s about shifting our job-searching paradigms. Before we can become skilled job-seekers, we need to take a look at the old paradigm, understand what’s wrong with it, and then replace it with something new.

The old paradigm of job-searching states that if you want to make a lot of money (or even a decent amount of money), you’ve got to work really, really, really hard.

The old paradigm doesn’t make all that much sense if you think about it. I’m making the next sentence bold because it is the critical insight that you need to wrap your brain around. Here it is: When we feel like we’re working very hard, it is usually because we’re doing something that we aren’t very good at. Why would anyone pay you a lot of money for something that you aren’t good at?!

The new paradigm is all about bringing value to the table. Forget (for a moment) about finding a job, earning money and paying your bills (I know it’s hard, but trust me!). Focus instead on the value that you can bring to the table. Answer the question “what can I do better than anybody else” – and trust me, everyone has something that they can do better than anybody else.

This is where the fun begins. The fact that you tend to like what you’re good at is not an accident. You like it because when you are building upon your strengths, you feel good. Following the directions that your strengths lead you towards will land you a job you actually enjoy.

Focusing on the value that you bring to the table is the key that unlocks every possibility, all because of one simple equation: VALUE > COST.

That’s all there is to it – so long as value is greater than cost, everything works. If your customers are getting more value than it’s costing them, you’ve got lots of happy customers. Well, the product that you’re selling to a prospective employer is yourself and your expertise.

Focusing on value leads to the “long tail” approach to marketing yourself. This approach is based on uniqueness, and the idea that success comes from finding a niche where your uniqueness is needed and appreciated. By focusing on this niche, you can avoid focusing on the wider spectrum where you can waste a lot of time and energy on employers that don’t need you, or maybe even have any interest in you. There’s a lot less competition in a creek (your niche) than in the ocean (the entire job market).

By figuring out where you really belong, your unique strengths will make you the uniquely appropriate candidate. With this approach, you’re no longer wasting your time applying to all the same jobs in all the same ways as everyone else. You’re maximizing your strength as a candidate by positioning yourself in the right place. Since you’re focusing on what makes you unique, you’re no longer trying to fit yourself to the same mold that all the other candidates are trying to fill – you’re creating your own.

Danny Iny is a ten-year entrepreneur and strategic communications expert. He has won awards for innovative business planning, and is the published author of a book called “Ordinary Miracles”, which has a five-star rating on He has sat on both sides of the job interview table, and has helped many people solve problems at work and find fulfilling employment.

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