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Increase Your Value in the Job Market
There's no better way for landing a great job than to create a demand for yourself.
Consider yourself an ongoing project that can be improved and worked upon with bit of time and effort.
Developing a sought-after expertise, networking, continuing your education, participating in social media and finding a mentor are all great ways to increase your value and help you stand out amongst other job applicants.
In today's shaky economy and overcrowded job market, many professionals find themselves occupying unsatisfying positions or, worse, unemployed and losing their hope for interesting job prospects.
Giving yourself a competitive advantage is crucial now more than ever to land your perfect job or further your career in the right direction.
8 Ways to Increase your Value in the Job Market
1. Be Aware of Yourself
Before you start to consider your career goals, it's important that you realize one thing about yourself as a professional.
In order to determine which direction is the best to increase your value in the job market, you should start to see yourself as a product.
That's right – you're a competitive product, with a variety of features, assets and liabilities that can be improved while you develop those crucial differentiators that form the basis of your personal brand. Continual development is a necessary step for growing your market value over time.
Once you realize this, you'll be able to translate this awareness into a succession of conscious choices that will take your career exactly where you want it and show employers and hiring managers that you're an individual with a defined plan for the future.
2. Develop Expertise
One simple strategy for an instant boost of your value as a professional is to develop specific expertise, so that your industry recognizes you as a thought leader or key influencer.
Keep up with news and updates within your sector and beyond.
Pay close attention to what's happening on the web as far as your sector is concerned – who are its key influencers, which blogs are most popular and valuable, and which people are considered important to the overall development of the industry?
If there's a niche in your industry you are interested in, or have been praised for, delve deeper into it. This can later act as the ultimate differentiator between you and other candidates applying for a job – once you develop niche skills that are recognized on the market, you might not even have to actively look for a job since recruiters are likely to hunt you down themselves.
3. Research your Dream Jobs
Every job has its pros and cons – even your dream job.
Do your research and find out everything you need you know about a particular job or role. This will help you prepare yourself to be qualified and job ready.
Understanding the responsibilities and requirements of your dream job will help you align your own skills, and understand what you need to bring to the table. By making sure that your resume fits the expectations of hiring managers and that your skills are exactly what they're looking for, you're simply preparing yourself to win the race for your dream position.
4. Educate Yourself
Certifying your skills is always a good idea.
Whether it’s completing the occasional workshop or a full-time degree, constantly educating yourself and updating your skills is a signal to any potential employer that you’re conscious of your growth and professional development.
Choose a recognized course provider, and a course that suits your needs and goals, and don’t look back!
See our page, Lifelong Learning for more.
Volunteering is a great solution if you're unemployed, but it could be also an interesting weekend option if you've got a full-time job.
As a volunteer, you’re bringing value to the local community and developing a well-rounded skillset.
Volunteering – preferably in your industry – gives you an opportunity to meet new professionals, gain new skills, network and develop relationships that might become crucial for furthering your career.
6. Be Active on Social Media
In today's digitally driven reality, lack of social media profiles can be a huge blow to your career.
Choose one to three platforms where you'll actively post, engage with others, build relationships and participate in online discussions, adding value with every post or response.
While Facebook is a more entertainment-driven network, Twitter is simply perfect for growing into a thought leader. You can post your own content, retweet things written by others and build a social presence that users respect. Gaining followers, you'll reach out to a wider audience and make yourself heard in your industry – effectively building a solid reputation.
You should also be active on LinkedIn, the most important professional network on the web. Being active here means not only setting up a nice profile, but also joining groups and participating in discussions, sharing valuable insights and experiences with other professionals from your sector.
See Managing your Online Presence for more information.
7. Find a Mentor
Identify a person who could become your mentor and help you see aspects of yourself that could be improved.
This kind of relationship is crucial for your self-awareness. This person will help you to realize your worth in the industry and guide you to the right professional opportunities.
A mentor can be someone working at the same company, but it's a good idea to pick a person who doesn't work in your department and has a long history at the organization.
See our pages on Mentoring for more information
Whether it's online or offline, networking is crucial to establish your presence in the sector and build valuable relationships that can only help your reputation as a working professional.
Talk to people about the interests you share – you will become known as a popular and interesting person who other professionals will simply like to talk to.
Increasing your value in the job market is ultimately about development. If you allow yourself the time to grow and take challenges in stride, you'll become a professional everyone will want to work with and employ.
About the Author
Kelly Smith works at CourseFinder, an Australian online education resource.
She also provides career advice for students and job seekers and is passionate about the Australian startup scene.