Keeping Up: How career-seekers can (and should) face competition, part 1

Keeping Up: How career-seekers can (and should) face competition, part 1

It’s that time of the year again when new blood is entering the workforce. Career-seeking season is well underway! Recent graduates are joining the ranks of the unemployed workforce, fresh career-seekers in a sea of experienced ones. And that environment breeds a sense of survival, urgency and competition. The rush to secure limited opportunities can be a very unforgiving race.

Competition in the workforce is unavoidable. The best way to deal with it is to develop certain mindsets and habits that will help cope with the pressure of competing against thousands of other candidates of varying qualifications. Therefore, we present this editorial series as a guide to tackling that reality. Read the first point below.


In the professional world, it’s important for career-seekers to adjust their perspectives regarding competitors. These other people are, after all, also human. With that as basis, we should try to develop an attitude that matches the kind of treatment we would like to receive from others. The cliché of The Golden Rule (do unto others what you want done unto you) is one simple way to describe this, but it goes beyond that.

Everyone else in the job market is competing as a human being and as a professional. First, they need work because they have to support themselves or their families, like all other human beings. Their goal is not to degrade rejected candidates, but to secure what they need. Therefore, they do not deserve to be treated with hostility.

Second, they are professionals precisely because they do not have any personal intentions towards other candidates. They are simply doing their best to be selected for the opportunities they applied for. They do not deserve to be undermined or sabotaged just so we can gain the advantage.

There are many offenders to these points. Often, they are just not aware of the basic civil courtesies that the professional world requires from all of us. However, there are exceptions, such as people who intentionally want to put down people, because they do not value professional respect and courtesy. They don’t care if these other people are just trying to get jobs; for them, denying people the opportunity to succeed is a very satisfying accomplishment.

Once career-seekers understand and accept these realities, majority of the job market will cease to be a breeding ground of destructive competition and will shift to constructive competition. This kind of workforce can also prevent discourteous career-seekers from thriving, simply because hiring companies will be able to identify and blacklist them among the multitudes of other respectful career-seekers. They will have no choice but to clean up their act and afford other career-seekers the treatment they deserve as human beings and as professionals.

It’s a gradual process, but once we all develop a habit of respecting our competitors the workforce will be able to raise its professional quality. Watch out for the next installment of this series to see what other possibilities can be opened up!

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