Forty hours a week, fifty (or so) weeks per year is a big chunk of your life. That’s approximately the amount of time many of us spend working. Most of us will do this for about fifty years. No wonder job satisfaction is so important.
Most people would likely agree that compensation and a sense of fulfillment are two key components to job satisfaction. Working in a place where you fit into the culture is also important, as is having coworkers you enjoy.
The challenge is finding a position that has all of these things. The solution is simple, yet complex. You have to boost your career prospects in order to find a dream job. It’s no longer enough to rely on your resume to do the work for you. Although that’s really important as well. Check out the five tips below for making this happen.
1. Create a Powerful Social Media Presence
By creating a powerful, professional social media presence you accomplish two things. First, you make yourself ‘findable’. When companies have job openings available, they do two things. One is obvious. They place recruitment ads in all of the expected places.
However, that’s not all they do. They also search social media, especially LinkedIn, in search of qualified candidates. If you aren’t active online along with your professional resume, employers can’t find you.
You can start by creating professional profiles on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. To keep things as polished and professional as possible, consider hiring a professional resume writing service to to do this for you.
That’s just the beginning. The next step is really an ongoing process. You have to become an interesting, engaging, and most importantly, a trustworthy voice in your niche.
Here are a few ways to accomplish this :
- Start a Professional Blog to Share Your Insights
- Connect With People in Your Industry on LinkedIn
- Find And Participate in Twitter Conversations by Searching Relevant Keywords
- Make Sure Your Profiles Are Complete And Your Contact Information is up to Date
- Share Samples of Your Work
- Help Thought Leaders by Linking And Sharing Their Posts
- Request LinkedIn Recommendations
2. Find Ways to Hone Your Skills
Keeping your skills up to date in order to improve your job prospects seems like a no brainer. The challenge is finding ways to develop your skills within your budget, and making the time to do so. However, since keeping up your skills and developing new ones is key to improving your likelihood of finding a great job, it simply must be done. Check out these tips.
Free And Low Cost Online Education
The possibilities here are nearly endless, and more opportunities for online learning are being added almost constantly. Even better, many are free or low cost. Here is a brief list of online education resources covering a wide variety of subject areas:
- Khan Academy
- W3 Schools
If you would like to master a specific tool or software suite, check with the publisher. Many offer free tutorials to users who have purchased their products. Another option is to check with your local community college. Tuition rates are generally inexpensive, and you can take one or two courses at a time in the relevant subjects.
Before you fully engage in your job search to find a full time gig, consider working an additional part time job. If you are willing to fill in nights and weekends, many companies are willing to overlook some skill deficits and offer on the job training instead.
Another way to improve and gain new skills is through volunteering. This is especially true if you’re interested in developing soft skills. If you have emerging or entry level skills, try a website like CatchaFire.com. They will help you find volunteer opportunities where you can apply those skills in real life activities.
Join Professional Associations
If you can join a professional association either locally or online, you should definitely consider it. For the cost of your annual dues, you could get free or discounted access to the following:
- Webinars And Conferences
- Online Libraries And Databases
Associations are often able to negotiate group rates when scheduling speakers as well.
3. Become a Better Communicator
Communications skills impact every part of the job search process. This includes resume writing, interviewing, posting on social media, blogging, and simply interacting with potential employers and networking contacts.
One of the best pieces of career advice is to find ways to improve these skills. Here are some areas where you can focus:
If you your written communication skills need a lot of work, you might consider taking a class. You might also want to hire a resume expert to work on your resume, CV, and cover letters. This will give you a better shot at landing interviews.
Many people just need a little extra help. If this sounds like you, consider using tools like Grammarly and the Hemingway app to make your professional communications polished, concise, and error free.
Your ability to interview successfully, present your ideas publicly, and otherwise communicate verbally is extremely important. If you’ve stumbled your way through an interview, or cringed at your awkwardness during a presentation, you already know this.
If this area is a deficit for you, consider working on it. Joining a group like Toastmasters could be a great way to start.
4. Create a Niche
Many people choose to cast as wide a net as possible when they try to further their career. That’s not always the best choice. For one thing, it guarantees that you are always going to be competing with a large pool of other prospects.
Sometimes, you can improve your career prospects by narrowing that focus. You can do this by finding a niche or a specialty. For example, you could focus on providing services to a specific market segment. You could also work to become an absolute master at a certain technology. Better yet, identify a need that isn’t being met and use your skills to meet that need.
5. Set Your Sights High
You’ll never achieve career growth if you only apply for the jobs that you are 100 percent qualified to do in every way. In fact, if you apply for jobs that you are overqualified to do, you could really be doing yourself a disservice. Instead, look for jobs where your skills are fit, but will also require you to learn new things in order to be successful.
If you want your career to continue on an upward trajectory, try implementing a few of these tips. Chances are, you’ll find a job that is ideal for you in short order.