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How to make yourself more attractive to the job market

About 4 minutes to read

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Question: How can I make myself more attractive to the job market?

Ensuring that you stand out from the crowd when you’re looking for a new role is always a challenge — especially now when there are more job seekers and competition is high.

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Depending on where you are in your career and your employment status, it might feel like an uphill battle. But there are a number of factors that can help your applications and conversations shine.

  • Start with the basics — Go through your CV and your LinkedIn, and make sure that your biography is up-to-date and thoroughly checked over for inconsistencies or typos. This is no time to have an application written off because of poor spelling or grammar.
  • Ask yourself, “What do I really want?” — Searching for a job can be made a whole lot easier if you have a goal and are purposeful with your search. This doesn’t necessarily mean planning the next ten years to the day, but should involve thinking about where you’d like to be in the future — in your personal or professional life.
  • Show off your interests — Whether it’s a job in finance or a role in publishing, demonstrating that you care by following industry news and updates will always play in your favour. Not only will this give you something to talk about in an interview, but chances are if you’re proactively engaging with news online and via social media, people in your sector will notice your name and appreciate your opinions.
  • Learn something new — Similar to the above, if you have the time and resources then look at ways to upskill that could help you gain that next position. You can turn some of these into assets — write up your learnings for your LinkedIn community or a blog, develop a portfolio, or add qualifications to your CV.
  • Say yes — to interviews, to events, to speaking opportunities. Even if you have a job that you enjoy, taking interviews and having conversations, building your network and knowledge, will only bolster your career. Remember: with any conversations that start with an interview offer, preface them by saying that you’re not necessarily looking, but that you admire their company and would love to find out more. They may not have time in the short-term, but you could pick up again further down the line. This way you can get more industry connections and insights for if / when you do want to move.
  • Foster your connections — Having a little black book might sound old-fashioned, but having a strong network of colleagues and peers is an invaluable thing. So reach out and connect with your old team leader, touch base casually with a former boss, check in with former colleagues and send positive notes to people when they get married or run the marathon. Keep those contacts warm with little things so that when you’re ready to jump ship, you can reach out authentically and have at least a conversation. This will also help when it comes to providing references.
  • Be tactical — Connections are powerful — but keep a balance between discretion and enthusiasm. If you’re looking for a job but still working, you may want to reach out to people under the radar. Being tactical about your outreach in these scenarios is always important — you may not want to talk to absolutely everyone in your contact book at once, for example, rather you might want to cherry-pick the people who could give you the most relevant feedback or input into your job search first. On the other hand, if you’re currently unemployed, you may not want to reveal that you’re out of work until later down the line — it is, after all, still easier to get a job if you already have one.
  • Think positive — It’s time to show off the things that make you awesome: your passions, your opinions, your reading list, or the kilometres you’ve done on your bike since lockdown. You don’t always have to come across as shiny and happy — not even on Instagram — but positive thinking can help you attract better opportunities.
  • Don’t take “no” personally — It can be really hard not to take rejection to heart — but a no doesn’t always stay a no. Reaching out to the recruiter or HR team to get feedback and to let them know why you admire the company can sometimes mean that next time they’re hiring, you’re remembered and contacted for something they thing better suits you and your skills. Don’t fall into the negativity trap, if you really want something, be persistent and work for it.
  • Apply, apply, apply — and not just for the roles that are advertised! It’s not news that you have to apply for a role to get a role, but don’t feel like you need to only apply to one place at once. Speak to multiple recruiters. Fill in as many applications as you see of interest. Reach out to companies that aren’t hiring if you’re passionate about working for them — even if there’s not a job now, there might be in the future.
  • Be confident — This is particularly for any women readers: apply even if you don’t think you tick every box. You don’t have to have 100% of the skills on a job description (and statistically, men will apply if they meet 60% of the criteria). Fact is, you always have potential — you can learn, you can grow, you can thrive. Don’t hold yourself back. Go for what you want.

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Last modified: 23 November 2020