“Be different or fail” might sound like the slogan from a magazine advert but it is really a principal which underlies the current economic market. To beat the competition, companies need a workforce that moves their business forward every day. Therefore, when looking for potential employees they increasingly seek individuals that have an entrepreneurial mindset – ones that are proactive, that can quickly adapt to the changing requirements of the market, and with a variety of soft business skills on offer.
With employers’ expectations becoming more demanding, current jobseekers need to be armed with something more than a polished CV and memorised interview questions. Below are 5 alternative employability tips that through my work with jobseekers have been proven to be extremely useful when looking for employment.
The recruitment process is based on a very simple idea: when employers are interested in hiring someone with specific attributes, they create a list of these desired attributes. Then candidates that feel they have these qualities get in touch with the employer. Since it is not a secret what the employer wants, it is paradox to watch jobseekers sending in CVs that do not correspond to the job specification! If you want to truly stand out from the crowd, stop sending standard CVs even if they are industry specific! The key to success is to adjust your CV to each job specification so that you are bluntly showing that you can give to employers what are they looking for.
2. Start using the language of benefits
To present yourself successfully to employers, you need to know the difference between features and benefits. The first concept corresponds to all your attributes that describe you as a candidate. The second term refers to benefits that an employer will get from hiring you. One of the mistakes that individuals make during an interview is to only present their features without showing how these can benefit employer. To impress employers, start using the language of benefits by linking your skills to beneficial outcomes. For example; type of company problems your skills set can solve, how your skill set can make their customers happy, how your skills can help move their business forward.
In the current highly competitive market, one of your survival weapons should be a strong awareness of your strengths. Since the recruitment process is based on performance comparison between various candidates, your assets should be used as your Unique Selling Points (USPs). USPs are the strengths that differentiate you from other candidates and therefore make you stand out from the crowd. Identify these and then use them to your advantage by stating them clearly on your CV and using them when answering any assessment questions.
4. Develop your soft skills
The employers’ expectations are based around the soft business skills. The paradox with such skills like time management, communication or teamwork is that we all believe that we have them. For instance, since we talk every day we believe that we communicate but not many of us can claim that we mastered the art of effective communication in which we actively listen, paraphrase, or ask open questions. Since every candidate claims that they have soft skills, to stand out from the crowd is to give employers a real life examples in which you used these skills. In order to do so, you need to be engaging with a variety of activities which allow you to develop these skills such as community projects, volunteering, work experience placements etc.
5. Tap into your network
We often forget that relationships are the key to career development simply because every job opportunity boils down to interacting with people who make hiring decisions. Since behind the scary interview rooms are only people, creating a varied network of individuals will help you to shape your career in a right direction. Don’t think of your network only in terms of people within a specific industry who can refer you for a job but rather a team with varied skills and knowledge, who can advise, provide relevant information or introduce you to an industry expert. With a range of social media platforms you can start building your professional network quickly and easily.
Klaudia Mitura is an Employability Skills Trainer and Consultant who has set up a company dedicated to supporting youth organisations to increase the employability of young people. From working with young people in charities and local colleges, Klaudia observed that the often the main barriers to gaining employment were not a lack of knowledge, skills or a well written CV, but rather a lack of a range of soft skills such as communication, confident presentation abilities, time management or realistic goal setting. This observation led Klaudia to start Employability Town which primarily focuses on developing such soft business skills. For more information visit www.employabilitytown.co.uk.