With a dramatic increase in unemployment rates across the globe, now is definitely the time to focus on standing out. Competition is so high today that your application might not even be read by a human being.
The tips below show you how to stand out, glow and grow on your job-hunting journey.
Facts tell, stories sell
Tell your story. Keep telling your story – in person and in words. Hear yourself tell your story. Weave in all the nuts and bolts, your flaws and shortcomings. Those are the parts of your story who made you who YOU are today! Always tell the truth. Include the failures which are your learnings. Own your story. Now take a step back and ask yourself, ‘do I sound authentic?’
Self-belief will never fail you
Believe in yourself and your skills. Otherwise how can you expect others to? Get clear on your value. Believe it! And the person on the other side will believe it too! Sell yourself but don’t be intimidated by this. As Elissa Shuck, career and workplace coach in Phoenix, USA, reminds us, a ‘sale is nothing more than a transfer of belief.’
ABOUT THE PROCESS
Be the chooser
Before Covid-19, there was an unwritten rule that 80% people find their next career opportunity through their network. By applying for only advertised jobs, you are limiting your opportunities and choices.
Just as consultants / freelancers choose their clients, choose the company you would like to work with. Notice the ‘with’ as opposed to ‘for’ – you are joining forces, combining energy to meet common goals. Some goals might be defined by others (at the organizational level), but many will be established at the team and individual level.
Narrow your list down to your top ten based on industry as well as company size, culture and other attributes too.
Get clear on the following questions to ensure a good cultural fit:
- Do you align with their values, vision and mission?
- Do you believe in their products?
- How does your personality fit in with what you know about the company culture?
Send a personal video message instead of a written message. A homemade version in your local park can do the trick. If you’re digital savvy, take it one step further and use one of the many free apps available to make it more professional and showcase a skill.
If you can think it, ink it
Dare to be and do different. Write an eye-catching headline on your application. Use simple words in a powerful way to showcase your top skills and how you add value. Remember less is always more.
ABOUT YOUR SKILL SET
Showcase your skills
Create your own website with a portfolio of work. Use social media to showcase your thought leadership on given topics.
Writing skills matter
You don’t have to be a journalist to be considered a writer. And developing good writing skills will support you throughout your career – whatever direction it takes you.
It’s a great opportunity to build your personal brand and develop credibility. Start slow and be consistent. You might not get noticed at first. It might feel uncomfortable putting yourself out there at first. But someone somewhere will appreciate what you write. One word at a time.
Onyi Anyado, global leadership speaker in the UK, recommends writing a series of articles about the industry you work in. Connect with decision makers and start a conversation to tap into their thought leadership on a given topic.
How else can you gain writing experience?
- Write on your company’s blog
- Start your own blog or write a guest blog
- Write on Medium and LinkedIn
- Pitch to the press
Stuck on what to write about? Start with your personal story.
Embrace lifelong learning
Upskilling has never been easier. There’s an array of courses available for free on LinkedIn learning, Coursera and Edx to name a few. Some may be relevant to your next job, while others might just tickle a passion and keep your brain cells challenged. And make you interesting and stand out.
WHO CAN HELP?
Milk your network
Ask people in your network, ‘who can you introduce me to?’
Don’t be shy. This is the era for milking your contacts. One person at a time. Be open to advice, an informal coffee meeting or walk and talk. Meet people outside your usual industry too. You will have the chance to pay it forward in the future.
Tip: Connect with and follow inspiring individuals on LinkedIn.
Don’t take it personally when someone doesn’t accept your connection request or return your call. Not everyone is active on LinkedIn (yet)!
It’s never too late to work for free!
Whether it’s a volunteer role, or you offer a pro bono session as a consultant, there is always opportunity in the ‘try before you buy’ approach.
Internships are super trendy right now too. They are a great way to ‘get that foot in the door,’ and gain some experience on your CV.
Be in the driver’s seat and influence as much as possible which tasks come your way. Say ‘yes’ more than you say ‘no.’ Work experience is a two-way gain – for you and your employer.
Tip: have firm boundaries in place to ensure you are not taken for granted.
Do you have any success stories to share? Please do – I’d love to read them!