Very few of us feel all that comfortable during even the briefest stretch in the job market. While, deep down, we are well aware that our attributes and experiences make us highly desirable prospects to employers, that sense of being out-of-place within the professional world is jarring, even at the best of times.
This, coupled with the fact that the majority of professional experiences now take place online, means that we can feel immense pressure to stand out from a large crowd of prospects – and that our ability to stand out is growing increasingly difficult as the physical distance between us and interviewers grows longer.
Still, we needn’t succumb to despair – here are three tips for thriving in today’s job market, even in spite of the many challenges that has arisen in recent months.
Don’t Just Update Your Existing Resume – Reinvent it
The job market made a successful transition onto the web more than ten years ago, with postings now a mainstay of dedicated online spaces – and little more than a cultural relic within the newspaper classifieds. And, while we have all been swift to pursue this new and bustling option for hunting down openings, many of us remain somewhat stuck in the dark ages when it comes to actually applying for them.
We are talking, of course, about our resumes – which receive little more attention than the yearly ‘update’, which translates to nothing more than updating the ‘years worked’ column and, possibly, amending that devastating typo we berate our past selves for overlooking – although, interestingly enough, typos are a much more divisive phenomenon than you may think.
That old, slightly dry concept of the personal resume is something that is being increasingly identified with an age before this one – an age that identifies more readily with electromechanical word processors and gathering together pennies for the library xerox machine.
Nowadays, many jobhunters are utilising website builders to create a unique and high-quality online resume – a digital reinvention of the classic paper-and-ink curriculum vitae – as a modern medium for conveying their professional strengths and inimitability.
In this way, you can take a renewed sense of control over the ways in which prospective employers perceive you. While a LinkedIn profile, for instance, gives you grounding within the wider world of business, it offers only limited scope for personal branding – something that will only grow more significant as more and more of our professional lives play out online.
Use Your Time Wisely
First impressions matter – and, when it comes to job hunting in the 2020s, your first impression will be the one made by your online resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter. But, what matters just as much as that first impression? The second one – and it is this one that you have the most control over.
Impressing prospective employers within interviews is not always easy – particularly if you consider yourself on the quieter side of confident – but the ability to enter into a zoom call without a single hint of anxiety on your face is only a small part of the equation.
Preparedness, and a natural fluency with all the relevant subject matter, is key – and it is something employers are always on the lookout for. As the interviewee, your responses to interview questions will set the bar for discussion – and determine whether or not you are proactive and passionate enough about your chosen industry to make a good addition to their team.
When you are between jobs, using your time wisely to research into the cutting-edge of your industry – to take in online seminars and articles being put forth by the industry’s leaders – will pay dividends during the interview, and set you head and shoulders above the competition.
Never Stop Pursuing Experience
In a job market as active and bustling as this one, one of the greatest assets any jobhunter has at their disposal is experience. We live in an interconnected world, and one of the most exciting consequences of this is the fact that very few industries exist within a bubble, and experience can come in myriad forms.
The value of demonstrating your interdisciplinary experience (as it pertains to your primary role) can never be overstated, and that means that utilising any time you have to pursue contract work will offer a valuable source for augmenting your professional skills – and, of course, forging new relationships that may one day give way to more permanent prospects.
Entering into the job market can be an incredibly daunting experience. To attempting to extol your own virtues and put forth an image of cool, calm collectedness under high-pressure circumstances is something with which very few of us are comfortable, but there are always proactive steps you can take to ensure that, while your inner-self may be a little uneasy, your professional persona appears unswervingly buoyant.