By Perminus Wainaina
The job market today is becoming more competitive as the years go by.
Kenyan universities are producing thousands of graduates every year into a job market that does not offer enough jobs.
And it gets even tougher when you are looking to transition into a job market that is saturated and very competitive.
Whether you are looking for a job or looking for a promotion in your career it is important that you align yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the rest of the competition.
Regardless of the profession you are in; whether Accounting, Finance, procurement etc., there are guaranteed techniques you can start using to stay ahead of the competition.
Quick Read >>> The Proven Art Of Staying Ahead Of The Competition
Here are 3 techniques you can start using to stand out…
- Build a STRONG personal brand
What’s your understanding of personal branding?
In its simplest definition, personal branding is the ability to market yourself, your services, products and career.
Personal branding has the power to advance and propel your career because you are in charge of putting out the image you want others to see.
Assume for instance you are you are an Accountant fresh from campus and you are now aggressively looking for a job.
How many Accountants just like yourself are looking for jobs as well? Hundreds to thousands!
So what will make you get the job and not the other persona who studied the same course as you?
You add value to yourself and your career by building your skill-set. For instance, you can decide to start taking short courses or attend a practical accounting training in order to get the practical skills employers are looking for.
Also brand your CV and cover letter. Let your documents professionally portray the skills that you have so as to attract potential employers.
If you are already working and you are looking for that promotion or a job change, start delivering on your value by going over and beyond what is expected of you.
Sometimes it helps to take up career development courses such as leadership and management and even advance your education in order to build your competency.
This also applies to having a strong online brand. When people search you on platforms such as “Linked In”, they should be able to see what your skills are, your academic and professional background and career objective.
- Strengthen your soft skills
I’m sure by now you have noticed that it is not the people with a high IQ that always advance in their careers, but those who have a high level of emotional intelligence.
This Will Interest You >>> Why a high level of emotional intelligence matters in career development
Soft skills (or people skills) are what get you a job, help you keep it and enable you to advance in your career and emotional intelligence is just one of those skills.
If you are looking for a job, the technical skills you gain in school won’t help you much if you lack critical skills like communication, problem-solving, team-work, ability to work under pressure among others.
Whereas job skills are important, employers want to know how well you can be able to fit in with the culture of the company and fellow employees.
Say you are working, you cannot rely on your experience and papers alone. If you are eyeing a promotion, salary increment, or even a work related award, it is your soft skills that will help you get there.
You must start cultivating crucial skills such as leadership, conflict resolution, customer service skills etc if you want to stand out from your competitors.
- Speak to the needs and values of a company
Over and above everything, a company wants to know, “what’s in it for us?”
How will they benefit by having you as part of their team? What value will you bring on board?
If you are job hunting, do an extensive research on the company and find out what they really care about.
Examine how their values relate to your own personal values and how that would be an added advantage for them.
Read their reports, press releases and other publications to find out how you can offer them concrete and long-term solutions to their most pressing needs and concerns.
For instance, if you want to work in the NGO sector, focus on bring out the skills and/or experience which you feel would be beneficial to the company. If they value integrity and honesty, demonstrate that these are the same values you possess.
The job market is not for the faint of heart…
It is frustrating to find your niche and footing in a competitive job market especially if you have been job hunting for some time now or you are looking for a job or career change.
So start implementing the above 3 techniques in order to start making the right career steps.
What other techniques do you think you can use to stand out?