By Perminus Wainaina
You could be looking for a job for months or years with no success, yet some professionals seem to move from one job to another with little to no effort.
What do these top professionals have that the rest lack?
What is their secret?
Judy, who has been looking for a job for eight months, was frustrated that her efforts didn’t result in anything.
“I have been applying to every job I meet the qualifications and yet, not a single response.” says Judy during our one on one career coaching session.
After Judy had exhausted her options she still didn’t have a job –or any leads. This is when she decided to have a career coaching session to get a better perspective on what it is she was doing wrong.
Countless professionals are trying to apply for jobs every day. While some are successful, a majority make applications that go unanswered.
Are you part of this group?
Have you been trying to get a job with no luck?
Have you been making applications without the employers getting back to you?
What is the issue, and how can you increase your chances of getting the jobs you apply to?
Before answering this, I’d like to engage you for a moment.
When you’re buying fruits, what do you look for?
In most cases, you’ll check if the fruits are fresh if they are ripe if they have any marks or dents, and their price.
This is essentially what the employer does when you apply for a job.
The same way you look at how suitable a fruit is is how the employer looks at your suitability for the job.
This selection process is what determines how employable you are and is referred to as your employability score.
In other words, employability is your ability to successfully get a job.
What is your employability score?
There is no one test to measure how employable you are. However, while you’re applying for a job, you can gauge where you lie on the employability scale.
For instance, there are those professionals who are always being headhunted. Even when they’re working, they’ll be approached by other firms who want these professionals to work for them.
There are two sides of a coin, and the other side of this example is those professionals who can’t seem to find a job despite how hard they try.
These professionals can make a thousand applications, but few of them will bear any fruits.
So I pose the question again, how employable are you?
Judy’s employability is clearly low. After eight months of unsuccessful job applications, there must be something employers are not seeing in her.
If you’re a situation similar to Judy, do you have a low employability score and what can you do about it?
This is a difficult question to answer, especially because there’s something different everyone should do, and I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong advice.
Here’s what I’ll do, I will share with you two main pointers on how to improve your employability. However, if you wish to have an in-depth discussion, book a career coaching session and I’ll allocate some time to personally meet with you.
Here are the top ways to improve your employability;
1. Advance your practical skills
Judy has studied all the way to a Master’s Degree. A while back, she mentions she applied for a job, then told her friend to also try her luck and apply for the same job.
The job was looking for a professional with at least a diploma or Bachelor’s degree.
“I was sure I would get the job, after all, I had surpassed the basic qualifications.” mentions Judy.
To her shock, the friend got the position.
Why did this happen? Why didn’t the employer go for Judy, who has more qualifications?
Truth is, most employers are not concerned if you have your MBA or not. What they are concerned with, is how well you can deliver if you get the job.
Does this mean you won’t get a job if you have an MBA or Ph.D.?
Upon further communication, Judy informed me the friend who got the job has attended several short courses to build her skills.
“She has been volunteering and taking short courses. Some of the courses are free online short courses, others she had to attend the classes for a week or at most a month,” comments Judy.
It looks like Judy’s friend already knows the secret.
Practical skills are a great way to prove you can get the job done. There are several ways to pick us these skills. You can take an online short course, attend practical training, volunteer your services, and so on.
Take a look at your profession and see the most valuable skills to pursue.
Additionally, there are soft skills such as effective communication that improve your employability score.
Here’s some more information on how you can build effective communication skills.
2. Be proactive and go the extra mile
I see a lot of professionals who get frustrated when they are looking for a job. They do not understand why they are not getting shortlisted.
However, when you ask them what they have done in a previous role, they start listing their job description.
While employers are somewhat interested in your experience, what they really care about is your achievements.
What did you exceptionally perform at during the last job that will make you stand out at the job you’ve applied to?
Instead of going to work every day and doing the bare minimum, always try to go the extra mile.
If you have targets that have been set for you, set higher ones for yourself. Yes, this will help the organization, but more so, it will help you.
Go the extra mile at work, and when you’re applying for a different job, the employer will see what you’ve been able to previously achieve. The employer will also see desirable traits such as hardworking, goal-oriented and self-motivated – skills that make you stand out and raise your employability status.
Ultimately, your employability score will determine how fast you get a job, and what kind of job you get. Use the advice above to increase your employability status.
Also, remember we can have a one on one session where we will take a closer look in your career and what you should do to get to the next level. Click here to book a career coaching session.
What else can help you raise your employability?
Perminus Wainaina is the C.E.O and Managing Partner at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading HR consultancy firm based in Westlands. Through personalized career coaching he assists mid-level and senior professionals get solutions to complex and challenging career issues that they are facing. Click here for more on career coaching.