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Are You Worth Your Stripes?

What’s good for the goose may not be good for the gander

We heard a naturalist speaking the other day about zebras. Of course it goes without saying that the most dominant feature of a zebra is its distinctive stripes.

The naturalist explained that the stripes are major evolutionary advantage for the zebra as a defense against its predators. When zebras are packed together with the herd, the stripes make them all blend together making it difficult for predators (such as lions) to zero in on one animal when hunting.

As long as the zebras are together with the herd, they don’t stand out. Some scientists experimented by splashing some bright red paint on a particular zebra. The paint made that zebra stand out making it easy prey for the lions.

What does this have to do with your job search? Plenty. Except that the job seeker must take the opposite approach.

While it’s in the zebras best interest to blend in with the herd, it’s best for the job seeker to stand out from the pack. As a job seeker, one of the last things that you want to do is to blend in with the other applicants.

To get hired, it’s imperative that you separate yourself in the eyes of the hiring manager. Through your experience, your skills, your personality – whatever it takes to not be just like the other guy. Unlike the zebra, you WANT to stand out from the crowd.

Being unique. Being an individual. That’s what will make you memorable in the eyes of the employer.


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