With unemployment at 9.7%, many people find themselves competing for the same jobs. So, how can you distinguish yourself in a job market filled with so many applicants?
You can increase your chance for success in this tough job market by sharpening your skills and making yourself a more attractive applicant Here are 5 tips that will make you more marketable in the current job market.
Making Yourself More Marketable
1. Go Back to School
Furthering your education is a great way of improving your employment prospects. Economic downturns are normally a boom for educational institutions as job applicants return to school to get a competitive advantage. Have you been meaning to finish your undergraduate studies? Have you been thinking about getting a graduate degree to increase your chances of finding a management position? There are a number of schools that offer distance education classes for your busy schedule. Some of the more popular online schools include University of Phoenix, DeVry University, and Strayer University. It’s important to check the accreditation of each institution and make sure that they offer the major you are seeking. If you can’t pay cash for the higher education, make sure you weigh the cost of the degree versus the value it will bring to you in the job marketplace. Don’t just get a degree to get a degree. Do your research and make sure it will translate into a higher salary in a job industry you want to be in.
2. Complete a Certification Program
Let’s assume you would like to work in a company’s IT department. You could become a Microsoft Certified Professional. This certification can be used to work as a software engineer, network administrator, IT technician or in any IT related field. Cisco, Apple, and IBM all offer similar certification programs that could help in your career path. There are certifications in just about any field including accounting, education, finance, law, security, and technology. Professional certifications offer an assurance to employers that you are qualified to perform certain job duties and tasks. Certifications help you stand out from the cesspool of job applicants that you’ll be competing against.
3. Improve Your Skills
Learning a new skill is always a worthwhile endeavor, and it can lead to job offers or job promotion. Just about any employee can benefit from improving their communication skills. Or you could increase your technical skills by learning a new computer language. For example, an individual seeking employment as a computer programmer may find it beneficial to learn how to write code using C++, Java or PHP. You could improve your computer skills by taking classes at your local college. Becoming proficient in document, spreadsheet, and database management will look good on your resume as well and help out no matter what industry you want to work in.
4. Work for Free
Are you having a difficult time getting a company to hire you for a particular position because of a lack of job experience? If so, why not volunteer? If you can afford to do it financially, take an internship or volunteer position. Think of a volunteer position as an opportunity to get your foot in the door. This is one of the best ways to get the inside track to a job. Not only are you gaining valuable knowledge and experience, but you are making lifelong contacts. Most companies hire from the inside which makes it very possible that a volunteer position could end up turning into full-time employment.
5. Practice Your Interview Skills
With so many employees entering the job market, more employers are using telephone interviews to sift through potential candidates. Surviving the phone interview is the first step to securing a face-to-face interview.
4 Quick Tips for the Phone Interview:
- Dress up. I know it seems pointless, but most people speak differently based on what they are wearing. Dressing professionally will help you talk more appropriately.
- Pay attention. Be energetic and enthusiastic. Listen closely. Respond without cutting off the interviewer. You can gauge if an interviewer is losing interest in you as a candidate. Listen for words like “great” and “uh-huh”.
- Be proactive. Be prepared with answers to potential interview questions. Always answer questions with action words such as can, have, and will. Make a list of questions about the job that you would like to ask the interviewer.
- Practice. There may be companies that contact you about a position that you’re not excited about. Even if you know you’ll never take the job, still take advantage of the opportunity to interview and hone your skills. This will really come in handy for that interview you do really care about. Also, if you have a family member or friend willing to help out, have them give you a mock interview.
I know that finding a job in this economy is not the easiest thing in the world. But with persistence, dedication, and hard work you can improve your chances of finding employment. What other tips do you have that could increase a job seeker’s chances for finding employment?