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How to Stand Out in a Competitive Job Market | Wellsgray

How to Stand Out in a Competitive Job Market in Australia
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16.1.2024

Master the art of job market success. Explore 12 ways to enhance your skills and make your profile irresistible to employers in any industry.

Havinga good education isn’t enough to land you your dream job in today’s competitivejob market – you need the right mix of education, experience and other softerskills – including language skills – to really stand out.

You also need to be flexible. It’s importantto stay ahead of the game– otherwise, you risk redundancy. While this need tostay relevant is stressful and anxiety-inducing, it is crucial to make yourselflook as good as possible in the rising tide of unemployment amidst abetter-looking economy.

Standing out in a competitive job market meansmaking yourself more marketable. You need to commit to expanding your skillsand knowledge in order to stay current, competitive and in a strong position tocompete for jobs in the future market. Learning about different strategies fordistinguishing yourself from the competition can be a useful tool in helpingyou find the perfect job. It’s not just about improving your work; your profileis influenced by the person you are, your motivation, work environment, workingpattern and sector culture. Here are 12 ways to stay on-trend in terms of yourskills and stay relevant for companies at any stage of your career, as well as3 critical things to not do. 

What is a competitive jobmarket?

Before we go any further, let’s define what acompetitive job market is. A competitivejob market refers to the amount of competitionthere is for open positions. In a competitive market, there are more potentialemployees wanting to fill roles than there are positions available. When lotsof people compete for the same job, it means that employers can afford to bemore selective. When lots of people are unemployed and all searching for a jobat once, and there are more job seekers than available positions to fill—thatis a competitive job market. When you’re looking for work in a competitive jobmarket, you need to be able to standout during the recruitment process

Do’s and Don’ts

While every market sector is different, thereare certain strategies that will help any candidate stand out. In order tocompete effectively and give yourself an edge, the following tips will help youhone your resume and your profile to create a very attractive package for anyrecruiter.

Dos

1. Clean Up Your Digital Footprint

In a highly connected world, potentialemployers are on social media and they are going to Google you. Getahead of any unwelcome surprises by googling yourself. If you don’t like whatyou find, take steps to clean up your online presence and update any sharedpersonal information. You should use social media to your advantage. Businessesmight not care much about Facebook or Instagram, but they definitely care abouthowyou look on LinkedIn. You should develop and maintain a strongprofessional online presence by keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date andbuilding your network.

2. Develop Your Own Brand

Your authenticity is your greatest asset, soembrace your unique qualities to build genuine connections. One way to standout is to develop your own brand and identify what exactly is so specialabout you. Start by conducting a SWOT analysis on yourself. By assessingyour strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, you will find valuableinsights into your personal and professional landscape. Recognize yourstrengths and leverage them, acknowledge areas for growth, seize opportunitiesfor development, and navigate potential challenges with resilience.

3. Reputation

Joan Jett might not have cared about a badreputation, but you most definitely should. Employers want somebody who iscourteous, considerate, and timely, on top of being a good worker. These areall things you should develop in yourself. You should also be observant andhelpful as much as you can. Be presentable– and this includes your onlinepresence. If you upload photos to LinkedIn, you want them to be professionallyacceptable!

 4. Get Experience

Education is important, but so is workexperience. You should take the opportunity to get any relevant work experienceyou can, including part time, internships, and other experiences outside ofyour ideal job. But work experience isn’t the only type of experience that’svaluable; cross-cultural experience opens your eyes to new perspectives, makingyou a more agile problem-solver and creative employee.

5. Start With A Clear Job Search Goal

Don’t necessarily take a shotgun approach toyour job search. If you apply for anything and everything, you won’t have thetime or energy to tailor your resume and cover letter to all of the positions.Instead, set smart goals and think carefully about what jobs to apply for. Youwant to be memorable, so only apply for jobs where you feel you could be a goodfit.

6. Seek Out A Mentor

Finding a mentor can be extremely helpful asyou navigate the job market, providing invaluable guidance and insights fromsomeone with experience. A mentor not only offers valuable advice on careerstrategies, job search tips, and industry nuances but also serves as a sourceof encouragement, helping you navigate challenges and make informed decisionsas you embark on your professional journey.

7. Develop Leadership Skills

Companies are always looking for people withleadership potential, so help yourself succeed. Take courses in businessleadership and areas relevant to your field. Read as much as you can, and stayup to date with market and sector trends to give yourself an edge.

9. Keep Learning

Embarking on a journey of continuous learningand personal development is key to professional growth. Enhance your languageskills, ensuring effective communication in diverse settings. Consider furthereducation to deepen your knowledge and stay abreast of industry trends. Engagein reflective practices to gain insights into your strengths and areas forimprovement. Stay current by refreshing your skills, adapting to evolvingdemands.

10. Polish Your Professional Image

Elevate your professional profile by refiningyour personal presentation and creating an exceptional resume or CV and coverletter. You should tailor your application materials for each opportunity todemonstrate a genuine interest. Leverage job search engines, connect withrecruiters, and passionately showcase your enthusiasm and achievements. Butdon’t get too bogged down in the technicalities; let yourself infuse creativityinto your approach and spotlight essentialsoft skills.

You should preparethoroughly for interviews; going in unprepared isactively insulting to your potential employer! It’s also important to know yourown worth and showcase your best work. The job search is no place forself-deprecation. In the competitive job market, this holistic strategypositions you for success by presenting a compelling, well-rounded professionalidentity.

11. Impress In An Interview

The interview is the place where you get totruly demonstrate your value in the professional arena. You want to be flexiblein your expectations, showcasing adaptability as a key strength. Express yourpassion genuinely and let the recruiters see your enthusiasm. You can alsoprepare for the interview by leveraging social media strategically to bolsteryour professional presence and network. Go beyond merely conducting research;actively engage in  insightful contributions and thought leadershipwherever possible. This will allow you to establish yourself as a dynamic andinvaluable asset, ready to make a meaningful impact in your chosen field.

12. Follow Up

Once you’ve had an interview, make sure to followup. There is great value in expressinggratitude, and you should send thank you notes after any interviews. Both papercards and thank you emails are acceptable, and many people choose to send both;a quick follow-up thank you email promptly after the interview, and then a moreheartfelt paper card that will arrive later. If you want to do this, considerspacing your notes so that they fit comfortably in the hiring process. Forexample, if you know that a company is likely to make a quick decision, send animmediate day-of or day-after thank you email, followed by a traditional thankyou note in the mail. It’s also worthwhile to seek feedback from yourinterviewer. Even if you don’t get the job, you’ll have valuable informationfor your next application.

Don'ts

1. Ignore First Impressions

First impressions are crucial on the jobmarket as they swiftly establish the foundation for how you are perceivedprofessionally, influencing hiring decisions, and shaping long-termprofessional relationships. A positive initial impression not onlyinstils confidence in your capabilities but also sets the tone for futuresuccess in communication and collaboration.

2. Forget to Research

Thorough research is essential in any careerpursuit. It extends beyond just exploring job descriptions; a smart candidatedelves into an organisation's mission, vision, and financials to gain acomprehensive understanding. This strategy equips you with insights into therole and empowers you with a nuanced understanding of the company's values andgoals. Research allows you to present yourself as a well-informed and engagedcandidate during the application and interview process.

3. Skip Networking

Without networking, nobody knows who you are–and that’s a problem in a competitive job market. Approach networking withconfidence and finesse, like a boss! Stay in touch with contacts by cultivatingmeaningful relationships beyond initial interactions. Actively participate inindustry events, both in-person and online, to expand your network and stayupdated on trends. An easy way to do this is to join online groups and stayactive on networking websites. To further enrich your professional circle,consider joining relevant professional associations. Networking, when executedwith purpose and consistency, opens doors to opportunities.

Summary

Marketing yourself well is challenging, butdon’t give up. You may not find your ideal job right now, but it's important toexercise patience, be flexible, and do what you can to stand out amid thecompetition during these times. As they say, “This too shall pass.” Puttingyour best foot forward with a strong, polished resume is more important nowthan ever, so make sure your resume is ready for the job search with a freeresume critique[a]. And if you’d like more professional help or want some assistancefinding your next job opportunity, please reach out to one of our expertrecruitment consultants today.

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