The sun is shining and the ice cream truck is circling your block – summer is finally here! If you are looking to land a new gig in the midst of the heat, then you will want to know these tips to boost your employability this summer.
1. Consider the skills you will need to reach your career goals: If you want to move closer to reaching your professional goals, it is crucial to subjectively take a look at your current skillset, and then make concrete plans to fill any gaps you may have. It’s vital to appreciate the difference between skills and competencies, skills being the specific learned abilities, and the competencies being knowledge and behaviors that contribute to your success in a job. By understanding the differences between the two, you’ll gain a better awareness of which areas you need to focus on to reach your career goals.
2. Focus on self-awareness to improve the way you’re perceived: A study of senior executives, by Cornell University, found that self-aware leaders with strong interpersonal skills consistently delivered better financial performance. But what exactly does being ‘self-aware’ mean in the world of work? If you are self-aware, you know your strengths and weaknesses and understand how other people perceive you.
Remember that the more self-aware you are, the better-placed you will be to adjust your behaviour and work on your personal brand. Having a strong awareness of what you currently do well and acknowledging what you still need to work on, will help you to improve how you are perceived by others – including in a job interview. It will help you to understand what your values are and how you want others to perceive you.
3. Understand your unique selling proposition (USP): It’s important to start thinking about what your USP is. While you’ve likely heard of USPs, you’ve probably never associated them with people. Many of the principles of USPs can apply to jobseekers.
To determine your USP, answer the following questions:
- Why should an employer hire you over any other candidate?
- What is it that you can bring to the table that other candidates can’t?
- What unique skills or experiences do you have that could add real value?
- Do you consider yourself to be particularly creative or innovative?
Also, think about any specific examples you can cite which clearly showcase your USPs to both recruiters and hiring managers. Perhaps your innovative thinking and new ideas led to new processes being rolled out, and therefore saving time and money. Or perhaps your strong communication skills and compassionate leadership style improved your employer’s retention of high performers.
Take some time to reflect on what tangible impact your unique skills have had on the teams and businesses you’ve worked for. Thinking about this ahead of time will help you tell your career story in a succinct, compelling, and undisputable way – which will really help you stand out from the competition.
Don’t forget to also update your resume and LinkedIn profile (especially your ‘About’ section) with the USPs you’ve now decided on, as well as tangible evidence for these.
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4. Make it a priority to improve your social media presence: If there’s one aspect of how you present yourself that will definitely influence how a prospective employer perceives you, it’s your social media activity.
Social media can be an extremely powerful tool when you are searching for a new role and wishing to attract potential employers to you. There’s many things that you can do across social networks to make yourself a more intriguing prospect for hiring managers, including:
- Writing about topics you have learnt or have pre-existing knowledge in
- Sharing other people’s content that is relevant to your line of work
- Adding examples of your work to your profiles, and sharing successes with your social ‘friends’ or followers.
If you want to present a positive and professional image avoid posting inappropriate material and being active on social networks during working hours. Showcase your USPs and put them front and center on your social media accounts, like LinkedIn. This will be highly influential in shaping how you are perceived, so that employers are more likely to see you as someone who is employable.
5. Reflect on what you’re looking for in a new role and employer: Next, put some real thought into what it is you’re looking for in a new opportunity. The more comprehensive your understanding is of what you are seeking in a new job and employer, the better you will be at targeting your job search. This way you’ll ensure you’re only exploring the most relevant opportunities. Before starting your job search, ask yourself these questions:
- What salary and benefits package are you looking for?
- What kind of role would represent a sensible step towards your long-term career goals?
- What technical and soft skills are you looking to improve?
- What kind of culture and work environment would you like to join?
- What are your ‘deal-breakers’?
- What are you prepared to be flexible about?
6. Stay positive and motivated when searching for a new job: A bright outlook and positive attitude will greatly help in improving how recruiters, hiring managers and interviewers perceive you – bringing you one step closer to that much-desired job offer.
It’s understandable that your initial positivity and motivation may fade if your job search begins to last longer than you had expected, so you might want to take a look at our tips to help you along your job hunt. This includes reminding yourself why you are seeking a new role in the first place, as well as learning how to deal with rejection constructively and giving yourself occasional time off from your job search.
Finally, a positive frame of mind isn’t just good for your own wellbeing – it also demonstrates to a prospective employer that you can deal with unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances constructively. This is a skill in and of itself and employers want to recruit people who can perform strongly on the job, while overcoming unexpected challenges and developing under pressure.
Looking for a new job this summer?
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