With millions of people looking for employment today, the odds are that there will be many other candidates vying for the job you want. How do you stand out and keep your head above the rest?
Knowledge Is Power. The more you know about your industry, its challenges, and solutions, the more you will be viewed as an expert in your field. Knowledge is something anyone can improve regardless of location, income, or personal situation. Today there are endless opportunities to find information and learn more about any given topic on social media platforms. Desirable candidates are ones who understand what is happening in their industry and continue to stay up to date on changes, new products, or services offered. They know how to "talk shop" and use verbiage that is used within the industry, key phrases that show potential employers you are vibing with your trade. To expand your knowledge, find trade publications, peer groups, and websites that provide insight into whatever industry you work in. If you arent disciplined about reading regularly, use the following schedule to help you get started and develop a schedule of KTFM (Knowledge Time For Me). Beginner 15 minutes, daily Moderate 30 minutes, daily Advanced 60 minutes, daily Each day, schedule the allotted time above for KTFM. It is most effective when you schedule it for the same time each day. For many, scheduling KTFM a half-hour prior to when they would normally begin their day is ideal, while others prefer doing it as the last thing they do during their day. There is no right or wrong. The object is to expand your knowledge in bite sizes until it becomes continual and habit-forming. LinkedIn Learning is another great place to improve learning. They have a wide assortment of lessons on varying subjects and some can even earn you a certification. The learning modules have their own notes and oftentimes, takeaway worksheets to help retain the information. Follow Up. Often. Follow-up is one of those actions many believe to be a waste of time. Why should I follow up? If the employer liked me, they will contact me. Sure, that may be true but why not beat them to the punch? Many of our clients have said they chose a particular candidate over another because they were great at follow-up. They sent a thank you note, left a message, a text, or an email reiterating their interest or thanking them for their time. Clients saw this as a huge plus. More importantly, it gave them a glimpse into what that candidate may be like in the actual position, following up with their own customers. Find A Mentor. Having someone who is more experienced and skilled in the industry you work in or are trying to break into is critical. If you don't have a mentor, ask around! You would be surprised at how many people are willing to share their knowledge and experiences with others. Finding the right mentor can take time. Here are some websites to help you get started and connected to a mentor: Forbes - How Do I Find A Mentor? Tony Robbins - Finding A Mentor The Balance Careers - Finding A Career Mentor Closing Thoughts With so many people competing for the same position, it's more important than ever to think of creative ways to set yourself apart from the rest. The best way to do that is by putting yourself in the potential employer's shoes. If you were the employer, what would YOU like to see? What would make you take a double look? What would excite you about someone? Once you've identified what the answers are, take steps to BE that candidate!