Job seekers have been given the same list of critical skills to brush up on for decades – things like careful follow-up, attention to grammar and punctuation, and great listening abilities. But in today’s overcrowded job market and with the ever-increasing pressures on hiring managers, job applicants have had to hone their skills in additional areas to stand out. Paul Lewis, the Managing Director of Pitman Training, is an expert in helping people improve their career prospects, secure promotions and get back to work, here are his top five skills for you to brush up on:
1. Identify your dream career
If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail. Before approaching any company, it’s essential to know if it’s the right role for you. Not only do you need to fit in well with their values and ethos, but they also need to fit into yours. So, ask yourself, would you be happy working there? Would it boost your career? Would it give you the flexibility or work-life balance you need? Is the salary suitable for your level of expertise? These are all valuable things to consider before applying for a role.
2. Improve your online presence
In today’s job market, the easiest way to get yourself out there is to create an online presence that showcases your past experiences and skills. Blogs and professional websites, such as LinkedIn, are often the best platforms to use when trying to stand out. Post your achievements, share industry-adjacent content, and upload your CV to these sites for prospective employers to see. Also, connect with people and brands in your field to grow your network and develop your online presence.
3. Network, network, network
Networking allows you to develop relationships and connections which can open opportunities to advance your career. But how do you get yourself out there? Start by attending job events and career fairs to increase your chance of meeting people who can aid you. The good news is that many networking events are now online, which means you can attend from the comfort of your own home and forget about attendance fees. During these events, swap details with potential employers, even if it’s just an email address, as this will help boost your contact list. Then continue your networking via social media. Check out our networking guide for beginners for more advice on this topic.
4. Think like an employer
Alongside your qualifications, it’s your skills and experience that make you a desirable applicant to an employer. So, consider highlighting these in your CV and interviews:
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Professionalism and strong work ethic
- Oral and written communications skills
- Leadership qualities.
It’s best to use real-life experiences and anecdotes to demonstrate how and when you’ve put them into practice. Also, if you’ve spent time out of work to look after your little ones, consider taking an adult education course to refresh your skillset, or develop new skills entirely!
5. Master your interview technique
For some people, interviews can be the best part of the job-seeking process. However, they can be a nightmare if they go wrong. To avoid this, make sure you’ve done your research on the company before you arrive. First impressions matter when you interview, so show up on time and dress appropriately. Make sure you’re positive and engaged throughout the process, and don’t be afraid to ask your questions during or at the end of the interview. View our interview guide for more tricks and tips.