8 Easy Ways To Shine In The Job Market
If you’ve unexpectedly found yourself searching for a new role, you may feel scared, overwhelmed, and would rather hide under a soft, comforting duvet than face yet another day trawling through job sites.
Take a moment.
The future might seem bleak, you may feel anxious and stressed, but it’s important to give yourself time to breathe, to grieve, and recognize that this is temporary.
Be honest. What do you want from a job?
This could be an opportunity to move in another direction, to pivot, and to follow an industry path you’ve been afraid to enter. Maybe you want a career that offers a greater life/work balance or to belong to a company that’s more aligned with your core values.
Once you’re in a good place to start your search, I’ve got some tips to help you stand out in the crowd.
1. Prepare Yourself
As Scar (of Lion King fame) sang and Robert Baden-Powell (of Boy Scout fame) said, ‘Be prepared’. That means putting in the groundwork before you even begin to start applying for jobs.
- Do the research. Find out everything you can about the field you want to enter. Enroll in courses online, read online and offline publications, immerse yourself in the industry you want to be in. Keep your finger on the pulse.
- Be proactive. Ask questions, stalk the companies you want to work for, immerse yourself in their social media, sign up to any email newsletters they send out, and keep abreast of any job openings.
- Get the experience. If it’s a new industry you’re entering make sure you get as much experience as you can. Look out for internships, work experience, web seminars, and online events to attend.
Take this time to gain more insight as to the type of role you’re looking for and the industry you want to work in. Even if it’s a familiar role in an industry you’ve known for decades, it’s still good to educate yourself and refresh your knowledge.
2. Light Up LinkedIn
Give yourself an advantage by creating an attractive LinkedIn profile page that dazzles all that see it.
- Keep it current. Make sure your LinkedIn profile page includes relevant and up-to-date experience.
- Maximize their chance of success. Imagine you’re an employer (or recruiter). Are you listing the ways that you’ve helped the business grow, run smoothly, or increase profits?
- Use keywords. Be aware that the way your profile is written can affect visibility. NES Global Talent suggests including ‘keywords in various places such as; in your heading, your summary, your job titles, and your job descriptions.’
- Include a profile photo. According to LinkedIn, members with a photo can ‘get up to 21 times more profile views than members without.’ But don’t forget that your goal is to be employed, keep those 3 AM weekend party snaps safely on your private Instagram account.
- Show off. If you’ve won industry awards, display them. If you have samples of work that you’re proud of, link to them.
- Ask for testimonials. Previous bosses, co-workers — let their words paint a picture of how you work and your capabilities.
- Show some personality. Don’t be afraid to inject a bit of ‘you’ into your profile, whether that’s in your headline, ’About’ section, or ‘Interests’ section.
Ask a friend to look at it and check that it’s clear, that you come across in a good light and that it looks interesting. Once you’re happy with how it looks, switch on ‘Open to Job Opportunities’ and edit your job seeking preferences. This means you’ll appear in recruiter searches matching those preferences.
3. Build a Blog or Website
If you’re keen to stand out from rival candidates, building a website or starting a blog can help.
During my career, I’ve combed through hundreds of CVs and (especially in my line of work), if a candidate shares a personal website that provides brilliant examples of their work and reveals a true passion for what they do, it supports their campaign.
It’s a chance to show personality, as well as industry achievements. Just like LinkedIn, think of it as an extension of your CV, so spelling, and grammar should be checked, and the information must be up to date.
Here are some handy articles that will help you get started:
- Developing Your Personal Brand
- Why You Need a Personal Domain Name
- How To Create Content that Makes YOU the Expert
4. Search for Yourself
A survey from CareerBuilder in 2018 revealed that “70% of employers use social media to screen candidates”. Your future employers might be nosing around your Facebook and Twitter profiles to find out more about you.
Complete a social media audit. What can you see when you search for yourself online?
Perhaps you’ve complained about a previous employer on your Twitter feed, or unknowingly you’re the main character in an ‘inappropriate’ public photo on Facebook.
Consider switching your Twitter account to private, or go through your old posts. Adjust the settings for tagged photos and timeline posts on Facebook and consider going private on this channel too.
5. Create Bespoke CVs for Different Jobs
Employers want to know how you will benefit their company. The simplest way to communicate that you fit the position is to rewrite your CV, mirroring it to the role they’re hiring for.
Here’s how to do it.
- Read the job description. Understand what the company wants in an employee.
- Jot down important phrases and keywords. Use the job description to work out the skills or qualifications that they want and use them in your CV. This will help show any potential employer that you’re right for the job, and help your application successfully pass through Applicant Tracking Systems.
- Check your skills match what they’re looking for. Go through your old job descriptions. If you can, include the same skills they’re looking for in these descriptions.
Try to keep your document under two pages and include a summary to say why you’re perfect for the job. Check for spelling mistakes if your CV is sloppy, you’re hinting that you might also produce sloppy work.
Creating a tailored CV might take more time, but it’s more likely to increase your chances of getting interviewed.
6. Practice Your Interview Skills
Congratulations, my expert tips helped you secure an interview for your dream role! Now it’s time to get prepared.
You’ll already have done lots of research about the company. Go over what you’ve discovered and remember it. Have they appeared in the news recently? Have they published any new press releases?
Practice. If you’ve been out of the interview game for a long time, or the situation scares you, start practicing with the people you know. It may feel cheesy and strange, but the more you practice what you have to say, the easier it will be to recall any important information you want to get across.
7. Leave No Stone Unturned
Plan. Once you’ve got the location, check how long it will take you to get there. Make sure your schedule is cleared, and you plan your route.
If you’re scheduled in for a video call interview, check to see what’s behind you in the background. If you can, sit in front of a blank wall that won’t distract your interviewer (or you, when you inevitably check how you’re looking on camera!).
Dress wisely. Although this may not be the same for all jobs, if in doubt, dress smart. In one interview I conducted, a candidate came in with a Starbucks summer drink, which wasn’t the best accessory.
Were you asked to prepare a presentation? Go above and beyond what is asked of you, include interesting stats, make it visually appealing by using websites like Canva and Piktochart, and include useful content to amaze your audience.
Prepare some questions to ask. On the interviewing side, I always enjoyed this part and learning more about the candidate. Your question can help the interviewer work out if you’re genuinely interested or have made some observations about the company you’d like clarified.
Here are some questions that you might like to ask and why they’re important:
- What will a typical day look like in this role? Find out the sort of tasks you’ll be undertaking.
- What makes an employee stand out here? Learn what the company values highly.
- What is your workplace culture like? Work out if you fit.
- Is the business growing? Discover where the company is headed.
8. Be Authentic
Above all, stay authentic, in your job search and your interview. If you’re not honest with yourself and potential employers about what you’re looking for and what you can do, if you do get the position, you’re not going to enjoy it.
If you’re not yourself especially within an interview situation, you may not fit within the company culture, you may not share the same values.
In a world that is becoming more open to the prospect of remote work, you may find that opportunities become available across the globe, and in doing so, the pool of jobs you can apply to (and the amount of competition) becomes larger.
It’s never been more important to know how to set yourself apart from the rest.
I hope you found the contents of this blog post useful and I wish you the very best of luck in your job search. If you have any more questions or would like anything elaborated, please comment below and I’d be happy to answer.