In this day and age, knowing all the ins and outs of the latest technology is a good way to get hired. But just being tech savvy is not enough. Here are three things that you can do to make sure you stand out from the crowd when seeking employment and growing your career.
Who are you? What do you stand for? Many people who are actively seeking jobs do not know the answers to these questions. In order to make sure you stand out, put in the time and effort that it takes to figure out these things about yourself. Don’t just come up with a vague idea; create a specific image for yourself and be prepared to articulate it when it’s time for those big interviews. Your goal should be to make your potential employer see you the way that you want to be seen.
Developing this image, also known as your personal brand, is not the same thing as being a unique individual. After all, employers know that each applicant they look at will have something that makes him or her different. If you can market yourself through the personal brand that you have created, you will stand out because employers will recognize your ability to know yourself.
In order for your personal brand to be truly successful, it must be recognizable, consistent and meaningful. In other words, by the end of the interview your potential employer should know not only what it is that you stand for but also why you stand for it.
Like it or not, social media is a big part of our world today. And contrary to what many people think, the personal, public identity you create through social media is not entirely disconnected from the working world. It is becoming more and more common for employers to look at somebody’s social media profiles to help them make their decision when hiring.
As a job seeker, you can use popular websites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to your advantage. Use your public identity to reinforce and expand your personal brand. The public identity and your personal brand should overlap to some degree, but they should not be entirely identical. Think of social media as a tool for showing how aspects of your personal brand spill over into all aspects of your life.
For example, if you brand yourself as someone who can persevere even when everyone else gives up, post social media updates about pursuing your fitness goals. While this may seem completely unrelated to your professional life, it shows employers who see the post that your personal brand is not just a facade that you put up on interview day. Let your personal, public identity highlight real-life examples that you are striving to live out your brand every day.
In addition to social media, blogging is another way to create your personal identity in cyberspace. Blogging is an excellent way of showcasing your communication skills. This is especially true if the job you are applying for requires top-notch writing abilities. Even if the job you’re pursuing has nothing to do with writing, the ability to draw people in and get them talking—through comments on a blog, for example—is a skill that many employers value.
Blogging is also a good way to network with others. The larger your list of people that follow your blog and vice/versa, the more marketable you are to employers. For example, imagine that you’ve just applied for a job at an advertising agency. Employers who look at your blog will see that you’re capable of creating a constructive narrative with a captive audience—something extremely valuable to them. Networking with others through a blog can also lead to contacts with people who are successful in the industry that you are interested in.
Know Your Gifts and Strengths
In order to be successful in today’s job market you have to know what your strengths are and be able to sell these strengths to potential employers. One of the most frequently asked interview questions is: “Why are you the best person for this job?” If you know your gifts and strengths and can articulate them well, then you will be able to answer this question easily.
Every job posting lists certain characteristics that applicants are expected to have. Nevertheless, don’t take it for granted that all the people applying for the job have all of those characteristics. During your interview, give examples from your personal and/or professional life to show why you have all the characteristics listed. But don’t stop with the content listed in the job posting; instead, use the list of desired qualifications to talk about related abilities that you have, which can complement those desired by the employer.
Overall, the best advice to succeed in today’s job market is to sell yourself. Find out what makes you different and articulate this point in your interviews and throughout your career. Don’t delude yourself into thinking your value is self evident. Unfortunately, to many employers you are just another face in a long line of applicants. Make yourself memorable, marketable and multi-faceted so you can land the job and build the career you’ve always wanted.