How to Stand Out from the Competition
We all know how tough the job economy is out there, so what can we do to make ourselves stand out from the crowd of applications that an employer has? The traditional thinking of just going to college, getting a degree and automatically getting a high paying career right away is about forty years out of date. Today competition is fierce and just doing the minimum is a guarantee for failure. We all know that networking is an important key to success but it is just one piece of the puzzle. There are many other pieces that are needed to become attractive to employers. Here is a list of tips to position yourself to succeed in the job market:
- Know how to give a good interview: Show enthusiasm, dress to impress, show the employer how you can help them, come prepared, and always send a follow-up letter.
- Volunteer: It helps expand your network, can help you learn new skills, and looks great on your resume.
- Have an awesome resume: Not having a proper resume or making many of the resume mistakes, like listing hobbies or irrelevant information can mean the difference between getting an interview or not. Check out this article to find out everything you need to know about having a great resume that’ll stand out in a good way. http://career-advice.monster.com/resumes-cover-letters/resume-writing-tips/how-to-write-a-resume/article.aspx
- Join groups and organizations: Join and become active in as many groups and organizations as you can. You’ll gain valuable contacts, expand your network, gain professional experience, get leadership skills, have fun, learn social skills, and organization and management skills.
- Be continually learning: Always take advantage of any opportunity to learn something new. This could be going to workshops, conferences, going back to college, fellowships, getting new certifications, or massive open online courses. Here are some free resources for online courses: https://www.edx.org/, https://www.coursera.org/, http://www.udacity.com/
- Use the internet for more than Facebook and Twitter: You can polish your writing skills by getting a blog, expand your network by using LinkedIn, take advantage of your alumni’s career center and network, and use any number of job boards.
- Learn how to be an effective communicator: This is an essential skill that you need to continually perfect. Be clear, articulate, use eye-contact, show genuine interest in the other person, avoid negative body language, and don’t forget to be a good listener.
- Learn from the best: This can be by reading biographies of great people or getting a mentor. There are a lot of innovative people out there to learn from that post great content online. Here are some I would recommend: http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/, http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/, http://chrisguillebeau.com/, and http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/home/
If you put these ideas into practice they will help you stand out from the competition. However, this list is just a beginning. In order to be successful you have to be willing to take risks and not always take the traditional route. Now go shake things up and be extraordinary!
- Travis Doto, AmeriCorps VISTA at United Way of Madison County