There are tons of reasons you may be seeking a new work position. You might be currently employed but looking for a more fitting opportunity elsewhere, or you may be yet to land your first position after graduating from school. Maybe you are returning to the work-force after some years of absence.
Whatever your reason, prospects can be bright and your options plenty. However, landing on a different—preferably better position or career— is unfortunately not always as easy as it sounds. Even when the labor market needs more workers, competition tends to be stiff. It is well known that those with experience and some sort of background in their chosen career are often first selected. This is the point where new graduates or people returning to the work force experience struggle.
The truth however, is there are thousands of good paying positions constantly looking for good, hard working people to to hire for different types of work. You don’t need to land a 9-5 office job right away to be considered successful. In fact, today many good jobs happen outside of the office setting and even let you select your own hours. Everyone has their hurdles upon entering the workforce, even those who are already experienced. Do not let these obstacles dissuade you from following the steps that can increase your chances of making your way to the perfect job.
Here are a few tried-and-tested ways you could try integrating into your job search:
- Write a “Killer” Curriculum Vitae
A curriculum vitae (CV) may seem like just a silly piece of paper needed to apply for a job. But it’s way more than that. It lists your accomplishments – academically and professionally, sure – but it is also an insight into the essence of your unique self. It is essentially a personal advertisement, and it lets your prospective employer know why you are the ideal candidate for a particular job. Many people either ignore or are unaware of the importance of a well-written CV.
For the best results, keep your CV design simple but thoughtful. Use a free or paid online CV generator if you are unsure of how to format it on your own. Your CV is the first hint your future employer receives about the kind of person you are – so keep decorative fonts and bright color choices to a minimum. Next, while it’s tempting to oversell yourself by exaggerating on your CV, it is better to keep it realistic yet convincing. If you do not have a lot of relevant experience, it is better to be thorough in listing the experience you do have rather than make things up. Remember, if you lie and are then hired, the truth tends to come out. Thirdly, for the most successful results with your CV, have it reviewed by a either a professional or an experienced and trusted friend before it is sent out to employers.
- Rack Up Work Experience
If you have your eyes on a certain career, but you have limited experience or have been out of the work force for a while, once of the best things you can do is to just start gathering experience where you can. You may be confident that you can deliver on a particular role on your first try, which is a positive attitude to have, but actual experience in a work environment will make you far more suitable for the position you’re after.
If you can resist the temptation to aim too high too quickly, choose instead to first learn the ropes of the industry you want to work for step by step. Sometimes, that means starting in an entry-level or low-paying position. These are the ideal jobs to pick up the tips and tricks of the industry. What types of challenges does the industry face? How do they make money? How does your boss handle different situations? Learn these things while you still have a relatively low level of responsibility.
In addition, you’ll gain soft skills like how to work in teams, how to deal with superiors and coworkers, how to take and give constructive criticism – the list goes on. The work itself is not everything. You’ll need to be well-rounded if you want to be successful in your desired position.
- Build Your Network
As the old saying goes, its not what you know, its who you know! In today’s trend where who you know is often more effective in getting you a job than your qualifications or what you are actually capable of, building the right network is crucial. This is the time to leave your comfort zone and begin intentionally forging connections with people. Start simply. If you know acquaintances from your school, past employment, or any significant person relevant to your chosen career, do not hesitate to reach out to them. Utilize social media platforms like LinkedIn and even Facebook for this purpose. It will never hurt to say hello and let people know that you are in search of a certain position. Even if they don’t have anything for you at that moment, they will likely remember you the next time something relevant comes up.
If you feel limited and need to expand outside of the network of people you already know, consider attending networking events or volunteering for projects that might connect you to people with similar interests. Its amazing to see how conversations lead from one place to another and before you know it an opportunity arises. The real benefit with networking is getting linked to people who could actually raise your chances for employment in a company. So, the tighter your connection is to those in your network, the better your chances of finding the right job.
So, where does this leave you? One of the wonderful things about today’s world is that individuality is embraced, so there are so many possible options for your life. There is no “playbook” that you must follow, nor is there just one timeline for success. If your ultimate goal is an important, fulfilling, and well paid position, we encourage you to take the proper steps to realistically increase your chances. And take the time you need to forge your own unique path! No one said it will be easy – but it will be worth it.