The COVID-19 pandemic has had its ups and downs for businesses, but it’s been all bad news for job-seekers who have been struggling to find employment in a hyper-competitive job market.
With lockdowns and economic downturns across the globe, HR departments in many organizations have had to revisit their hiring policies, making the most of the potential benefits of minimizing on-premises staff while getting things done remotely.
The job market is extremely competitive these days, with the shifting landscape and fewer job opportunities available in many sectors.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should give up all hope of getting your dream job.
There are ways to stand out in even this highly competitive job market, and ignoring any of these important factors could end in disappointment. Read on to learn 8 top tips for standing out from other applicants.
1. Acknowledge the Reality on the Ground
Yes, these are desperate times, but making desperate decisions out of frustration is not going to help. Being impatient often leads to making the wrong decisions and adding to disappointment.
The fact is that we are going through an era when having a diverse skill set is essential. With fewer options available, your best option is to study what organizations are looking for in their employees.
Carefully shortlist the most in-demand skills in addition to basic qualifications and sign up for online courses or further education.
This will take time but surely improve your chances. You need to acknowledge nothing is going to change overnight on its own, so it’s up to you to make it happen.
2. Acquire In-Demand Skills
Some skills are hard for any HR manager to ignore. For example, software engineers with cybersecurity certifications are hard to beat.
Similarly, data analysis is another skill in huge demand in recent times, helping professionals to secure better roles.
Having these skills and certifications on your CV will give you an edge over other candidates.
There are many in-demand skills you can learn to strengthen your resume through professional trainers such as Skills TG.
3. Rehearse for the Interview
With online interviews becoming more common these days, interview preparation now includes technical aspects of online communication.
Noise-canceling microphones, a good quality camera, background settings, lighting, stable internet connection, and avoiding possible distractions are the important factors you must check before your interview.
Online interviews now typically include a 30-second introduction of yourself including your expertise, achievements, and strengths. Practice this over and over until you perfect it in terms of flow, expression, and diction.
Prepare answers for likely questions. How will you reply to tricky questions, especially when they ask you to shed light on your weaknesses?
4. Do your Research
Good preparation for an interview requires some knowledge about the company and its products. It is always good to have an idea about the interviewers and how the interview is likely to go.
If you have this information a few days before the interview, it will greatly help you to prepare.
In some cases, you can get lucky and the concerned department might tell you exactly what they are looking for.
Consider calling them asking for more details about the job requirements. If they cooperate, you can prepare yourself accordingly.
5. Online Portfolio
Your online portfolio and recommendations matter. LinkedIn is one of the most useful platforms in this regard.
Consider building your profiles on freelance marketplaces such as Guru, Freelancer, UpWork, and Fiverr.
Your reviews and portfolio on these platforms are a huge plus especially if you have worked on some big projects with credible brands.
6. Be More Flexible
Desperate times can call for desperate measures. You may have a certain career trajectory in mind, including specific companies you want to work for and particular roles you’d like to have.
However, things seldom go as planned. Accepting the changing landscape while being ready to adapt accordingly will help you get a fantastic job, even if it’s not the exact one you had in mind.
Taking a few backward steps will at least keep your neck above the water, and you will have a better chance to turn things in your favor when things are back on track.
7. Consider Temporary Jobs
Since these are extraordinary times and job openings are scarce, don’t ignore the possibility of earning something in the meanwhile. It’s a good idea to consider temporary jobs while looking for longer-term positions.
The benefit is that most professionals do not prepare that well for temporary jobs. Even if they apply, they don’t put too much thought or effort into their application.
With the proper preparation and a positive approach, you will have better chances of landing a temporary gig through the hard times.
8. Track Job Listings
Another good approach is to subscribe for vacancy notifications in your area or online. Job listings are regularly updated and who knows when something promising will come up.
After all, just like disasters, good things also happen when least expected. Whether or not a good opportunity arises, keeping track of local job listings helps you to regularly update your resume.
Since many HR teams collect online resumes, you will develop the habit of constantly updating your resume. This will also teach you to customize your resume and cover letter for every job application.
Contemporary skills make a big difference these days. HR managers are showing interest in professionals with a diverse set of skills.
Having the relevant qualifications and experience is still very important, but you can only compete if you can offer something to set yourself apart.
Spend your time and energy learning in-demand skills relevant to your industry.