Looking for a new job in today’s economy is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. We’ve all been there at some point. Sending out dozens of resumes, hoping to land that job that seemed like the right fit, coming up short, tweaking your CV, and then repeating the same process. And how about those jobs where you were almost the perfect candidate, but you lacked one or two skills which were required by the employer?
The thing is, reaching out to potential employers and applying to as many jobs as possible is not the only thing you should be doing with all this free time on your hands. You can view it as an opportunity to invest in yourself.
So what should you do? For starters, here are 5 things you should start doing today in order to advance your career and increase your chances of landing that job you’ve dreamed about. Keep on reading.
1. Expand Your Skill Set
The more you know, the more interesting you will be to recruiters and potential employers. Even if you feel like you’ve mastered all the skills which are relevant to your industry, it never hurts to go back and update your knowledge.
This is very applicable especially if you are looking for a job in an extremely dynamic field, such as IT, where changes happen on an almost daily basis. Also, you should look beyond your area of expertise and learn a new skill that will help you stand out from the crowd of other candidates.
Learning how to build a website in WordPress, for instance, is something that can come in handy no matter what you do, and it’s not rocket science either, since there are plenty of free tutorials online on how to do it. Stuff like coding, photo editing, or design can also become a more than welcome addition to your CV, so take time to check those out, as well. You can even build your own online portfolio website, and showcase all of your skills.
2. Improve Your Speaking
Many people forget how important it is to be able to verbalize your ideas and thoughts in a clear and succinct manner. While it’s not something you can put on your resume, the ability to speak in public can benefit your career in more ways than one.
For example, you may be required to hold a presentation for your colleagues or potential clients, and the effectiveness of your presentation will not only depend on the quality of your PowerPoint slides, but also the way you communicate your message to your audience.
In such cases, your speaking skills can help you build credibility and good reputation in the industry. Since speaking is not a technical skill, it is a bit more tricky to learn it.
Apart from checking out some of the free courses on it, you should also choose different topics, and record yourself while talking about them. And yes, in the beginning, you will cringe at hearing yourself speak, but it will also provide you with an insight into what aspects of your speech you need to improve.
3. Invest into Building Your Online Presence
We’ve already mentioned how you can improve your chances by building your own online portfolio site, but there are other things you can do. Building a LinkedIn profile is an absolute necessity nowadays, since most companies find their employees online. Make sure that your profile is as complete as possible.
Apart from LinkedIn, consider Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other account that can mean the difference between you receiving a job offer, and the recruiters choosing someone else for the job. Pay attention to what sort of stuff you post online. The same goes if you have a personal blog. Speaking of which, having another blog where you will demonstrate your knowledge of the industry is also something that will grab the attention of the recruiters.
4. Build and Maintain a Network of Contacts
Sometimes, it is not just about what you know, but who you know, as well. You should use your free time to build a network of contacts that will become one of your options when looking for a new job.
This applies both to your online contacts, such as those on LinkedIn or Facebook, as well as those offline. In addition to adding new people to your contacts, you should also check up on those which have been there for a while.
Get in touch with your former colleagues, people you went to college with, or former clients by sending them an email or a message. Let them know how you’ve liked the project they’ve just completed, or congratulate them on something from their personal life. That way, you will get on their radar, and they will be more likely to think of you if their boss or one of their contacts is looking for someone with a skill set similar to yours.
5. Research Companies You Would Like to Work for
Instead of just sending out as many resumes as possible, research the companies you are interested in. Find out when and how they are hiring, what skills they are looking for, and whether you would be a good fit for their organization or not. You can focus on developing those skills which are sought after by them and similar companies.
By knowing more about the companies you are interested in, you can also predict if they are going to be hiring anytime soon or not. For example, if they are expanding, or if they have bought another company, they will most likely start hiring new people. And once they do, you need to be ready.
Just because the right job is not there yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to improve your chances of finding one. Use these helpful tips to advance your career today.