The job market can sometimes seem like a windswept wasteland and the prospect of finding a suitable job like tracking down the one vestige of residual life. Don’t enter the hunt unarmed. Equip yourself with these 5 tools to make yourself more marketable.
1. Acquire new skills:
Think of job hunting as the Hunger Games. You’re competing with many capable candidates, but only one of you will attain Paradise—i.e. the job. You need an advantage over the other candidates. You need to fill your arsenal with weapons with which to cut down your opponents. In this (possibly overextended) analogy, “weapons” are new skills, and new skills can greatly increase your value to an employer.
Learning a foreign language, programming language, computer application, or research technique are all skills that can be useful in any discipline. We’ll discuss this in more detail in the next post.
2. Enroll in Certification Programs:
Certification Programs exist in every discipline. Whether you’re an IT, legal, or financial professional, a suitable and affordable Certification Program is out there. These programs sharpen existing skills, while instilling new ones. Moreover, they provide reliable verification of skillsets to employers. Certifications, while not necessarily required, certainly set candidates apart in the application pool.
For you techies reading this post, the most popular IT Certifications at the moment are Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE), Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE), Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS), and Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP).
To emerge victorious, forming alliances is often necessary. It worked in The Hunger Games—for a while. The same logic can be applied to career success: building relationships with professionals in your specialty can be invaluable.
Contacts will alert you to jobs of which you were previously unaware and, often, help you land a position. Contacts are also very beneficial to your business, no matter the field.
With niche networking sites, social media sites, and forums, networking is now easier than ever. LinkedIn is an especially helpful professional networking site. If you do not have a LinkedIn account, create one. If you do, ensure your information is current and connect with your colleagues, individuals with whom you have done business, and other professionals in your field. Don’t be shy—the more connections you have, the better. Leverage this site and others to build relationships with other professionals.
Social networking is a great innovation, but it should never replace traditional networking. Meeting a colleague, client, or potential client in person–whether for coffee, lunch, or a meeting in the office–leaves a more memorable impression and goes further in building lasting symbiotic relationships than exchanging sporadic web messages.
Consider joining domain and civic groups as well. These allow you to meet and engage with professionals in your industry face to face.
We’ve mentioned that finding a job is difficult, but it’s worth repeating. If having difficulty finding work, why not volunteer or apply for an internship? Employers want to hire individuals who are proactive, not passive. So, even when unemployed, finding a way to enrich your community while growing your skills is impressive to any employer.
Invest your time in an area that matches your interests and, ideally, career goals. The range of volunteer opportunities is surprising. An opportunity for each personality and skillset can be found.
If you’re in the New York area, visit newyorkcares.org to find a volunteer opportunity that suits you.
5. Encourage creativity:
Technical skills and knowledge are essential, obviously. This doesn’t, however, discount the importance of creativity in any discipline. Success isn’t achieved by sticking with the status quo. The minds of truly successful individuals function differently than the masses. These few examine situations from unique, sometimes strange, perspectives and take risks that less innovative people are hesitant to take.
Employers want an employee with the ability to improve their business, and often, this requires a creative rather than traditional approach.
Hone your creativity by engaging in creative exercises. Challenge your mind to build your critical and abstract thinking abilities.
Implementing these 5 stratagems is a great start to attaining the job you want, but sometimes, having a stellar resume alone isn’t enough. When it’s not, Sharp Decisions can help. If you apply through us, you automatically have an advantage over other candidates because we guarantee that if you have the qualifications for the role, your resume will be seen and seriously considered by the hiring manager. This may sound like cheating, but we assure you it’s not. Our ability to place candidate after candidate in prestigious positions at high profile firms is a product of our 23 years of success in recruiting and consulting. Contact us. Let us find the perfect position for you. It’s what we do best.
As always, Sharp Decisions wants to know your thoughts, questions, and concerns, so send them firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll do our best to answer them accurately and quickly.