How to Stand Out in a Competitive Job Market

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The job market can be tough, especially when many people find themselves looking for work as a result of COVID-19. Even with experience under your belt and desirable traits, it can be hard to land a job, particularly if you are competing in a crowded job market. So, what can be done about this? There are a number of steps to take if you are looking to stand out in a crowded job market that should help you to find the right job before long, and combining a few of these could make a huge difference to your career and earning potential. Keep reading to find out more.

Treat Job Hunting Like a Job

When it comes to job hunting, it is a good idea to treat it like a job in itself. This should involve setting aside time in your day for applying for jobs, upskilling, and preparing for interviews. It is easy to spend all hours of every day worrying when you are looking for work, but when you can set time each day for job hunting and worrying about it, then it should stop you from worrying outside of this time and also ensures that you are active enough to find work.

Work On Your Soft Skills

No matter what industry you work in, you need to have excellent soft skills. Soft skills apply in all lines of work and will help you excel in your role and make a positive impression on people – this is vital for standing out in a crowded job market. Soft skills can always be developed if you have any weaknesses, and this is through research, practice, and courses. A few of the main soft skills that you will need if you want to stand out include:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Teamwork
  • Adaptability
  • Time-management
  • Presentation skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Work ethic

Update Your Resume

When job hunting, many people will fire off their resume without even giving it a second thought. This document is how you present yourself to potential employers, so it is vital that it stands out and paints you in a positive light (while remaining completely truthful and accurate). If you are job hunting, you should always update your resume and consider tailoring this to different companies. You also need to make sure that you have reliable references on your resume that will give you a glowing recommendation. There is a lot of helpful information online for creating standout resumes that could make a big difference in your search for a new job.

Create a Professional Website With a Portfolio

Having a standout resume is certainly important, but these days you also need to have a professional website if you want to stand out and find work. Having a professional website that outlines your experience, education, qualifications, background, and skill set is smart and gives you the chance to expand on the information in your resume. If relevant, your professional website should contain a portfolio of your work, complete with client/customer testimonials.

Utilize LinkedIn

LinkedIn is often the butt of many jokes in the business world, but the truth is that it is an incredibly valuable tool, particularly when job hunting. You should make an effort with your profile by including detailed information on your career, skills, and qualifications and connect with those that you know both professionally and in your personal life. This can already open up new opportunities that might have been hard to find, but LinkedIn also has an excellent job board, and it can be quick and easy to apply for roles found here.

Grow Your Network

Leading on from this, you will also find a large professional network to be hugely valuable when job hunting. Hopefully, you will already have a network that you can use to find new opportunities, but it is never too late to start. Attending virtual and real-life events relevant to your field will help you to meet new contacts, find new opportunities and improve your professional reputation

Tailor Your Applications

It is easy to send off the same application when job hunting, particularly when making speculative applications. This is incredibly easy to detect and shows that little effort or care has been put into the application, which will immediately deter employers and make it much harder for you to find work. Although it is time-consuming, you should get many more interviews when you tailor each individual application, paying close attention to the job adverts and the kind of language they use. 

Be Flexible

If you wait for the perfect job to land on your lap, you could find yourself waiting for a long time. This is why you need to have some flexibility with your job search in order to find work. This might mean working somewhere slightly further (remember that remote work is often an option), a somewhat different role, or earning slightly less (you always need to look at the future earning potential).

Earn an MBA

An MBA is a qualification that will always stand out on resumes and appeal to employers. This is because those with an MBA can bring a lot to any organization in any industry, especially since the pandemic has created so many challenges and strategic issues for organizations. Many wonder is an MBA online program worth it? The answer is always yes because you will learn valuable business skills that improve your long-term career prospects. You are meeting employer needs in a time of change in the business world. It can also help develop your confidence in your abilities as a business leader.

Know How to Make a Good Impression

Like in many aspects of life, making a good first impression is vital when looking for work and advancing your career. Being able to immediately build a positive connection and rapport will always help you to get ahead, so this should be an area that you focus on if you feel that you do not always make the best first impression. A few of the basics include:

  • Making and holding eye contact
  • Shaking hands
  • Smiling
  • Listening to what others are saying
  • Taking pride in personal hygiene and appearance

Work on Your Interview Skills

Following on from this, you may also want to sharpen your interview skills, as this is often the stage that people struggle with the most. It is understandable to feel stressed and anxious before and during an interview, and this is actually expected by employers, so do not shy away from being honest. You can reduce anxiety and improve your chances by being prepared. This will involve researching the company, preparing answers for questions you are likely to face, and practicing interviews. You will also find it helpful to plan your journey, choose your outfit ahead of time and give yourself plenty of time on the day.

Crucially, after every interview, you should always ask for feedback. Sometimes this can be hard to hear, but this is the best way to improve for interviews and should help you to improve your preparation for the next interview.

You also need to make an effort to stay up to date with the latest trends and developments in your industry. Every industry is constantly going through change, especially as a result of COVID-19. You often need to stay aware of technological developments, industry trends, changing consumer habits, and other factors. This is critical during the job search because it will help you to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise as well as show your commitment to your work. A few of the best ways to stay afloat with all the latest from your industry include:

  • Industry publications
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Newsletters
  • Social media
  • Industry events
  • Online communities

Sharpen Relevant Skills

You should also sharpen your skills and look to develop desirable new skills in your chosen field. Obviously, this will depend on your line of work, but you should find that there are always skills that you can develop and improve to stand out in a competitive job market. You can usually improve your skills with research and courses, and you can usually do this in your spare time and at home.

Engage in Voluntary Work

While job hunting, you will find that engaging in voluntary work can be worthwhile, particularly if you are not in a massive rush to find your next role. Voluntary work shows your commitment and dedication; it allows you to keep your skills sharp, improve your resume, and can also be helpful for growing your network and improving your confidence. It is never too hard to find voluntary work, and many people find that this improves their life in more ways than one while also making it easier to stand out in a competitive job market. 

Job hunting can be tough, especially when you are trying to stand out in a competitive job market. The above are all effective strategies to try. You should find that combining a few of these will boost your employability, help you find new opportunities, find success in your job search, and hopefully put you on a rewarding and interesting career path.


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