Play Nice: 3 Ways to Handle Competition in Your Job Search

Job Search CompetitionYou dealt with them on the T-ball team, they came back when you went for that college scholarship, and you can bet you’ll be dealing with them in your job search.

Competition. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a fact of life.

In the era of social media, your competition is closer than ever. Networking is supremely valuable today, so you might find yourself connecting with more of your competitors than ever before imaginable. Ever hear the Arabian proverb, “Keep your friends close – hold your enemies closer?”

In the perfect world, competition ensures a healthy tension in your industry keeping prices in check, constant and consistent advances in technology, and high standards in customer service. However, you might find that some competitors cause a lot more harm than good.

Check out these three ways to handle competition in your job search:

Reach out

If you find new competition on your radar, reach out to them. Give them the benefit of the doubt and make a friendly gesture to your new opponent. Instead of viewing this new person as an immediate enemy, they could be a valuable networking contact, but you first have to give them the chance to be one.

You don’t need to be best friends, but you can never have enough acquaintances.


Whether your competition is a sworn enemy or your best friend, you can always learn from them. Considering that they may be in the same tough spot as you, possibly searching for your next gig, they can offer another perspective about the job search in your profession or industry.

Additionally, your competition can teach you a lot about yourself. Think about how you act around them. Are you nice? Are you intimidated? Being honest with yourself can help you improve yourself as a job seeker and individual.

Bite your lip

Unfortunately, not every competitor is going to want to help you out. Conversely, they might try to sabotage your job search efforts by badmouthing you or handing out bad advice.

Before you run your mouth about them in retaliation, remember what your mom said: “you’re only sinking to their level.” While it’s not a great situation in which to find yourself, badmouthing or committing other reputation-killing job search sins will only land you in the doghouse. Trust that employers and your networks are smart and will be able to discriminate between what the competitor is saying about you and the real you.

What do you think? Have you ever dealt with a job search competitor? How did it work out? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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