Your career is very important to you and nothing is going to stop you from achieving your long-term goals. You pride yourself on being an intelligent, hardworking and a motivated person, but you can’t seem to get an interview with your dream employer. Whether you are looking to navigate corporate America in the public sector or land a role at an independent firm, there are certain practices to adopt in order to impress top employers, rise in your career and increase your income.
Though certain schools provide training for job applications after graduation, real life usually surprises graduates with the toughness of the market. When you are applying for a job or looking to move up in your career, you are literally competing against dozens if not hundreds of candidates. So, you must be tactical. It is no longer the world of the resume and cover letter neatly prepared and sent in an online application. The market requires more from you. And unless mommy and daddy have the right connections, the ball is now all in your court.
Your resume must be right.
Before you land the interview for your ideal job, you need to make sure your resume is impeccable. You might be fully qualified and perfectly suited to a role, but if you don’t present it out clearly on your resume (or CV), most recruiters will simply not take notice of it. There is currently a trend for ‘fancy’ resumes with extraordinary fonts and design. These are great and attractive, but you must consider your audience. Are you applying to a job at a hip startup or to a business position in an executive office? There is also the question of saving your resume as a PDF file or a Word document. I recently discovered that the safer route is to go with Word because often, some systems do not read PDFs properly.
When I was starting my career, I solicited the help of a friend who had been a recruiter. I recommend doing the same if you have access to a credible resource. You might need help with writing your resume objective, which will be the golden ticket to grabbing your potential employer’s attention. Make sure you know exactly what you are applying for and tailor your resume to reflect this.
In today’s world, your resume includes your LinkedIn profile. 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary sourcing tool. Not using LinkedIn is simply shooting yourself in the foot.
Accept the small beginnings and Enjoy the Experience.
You have landed your first job, brilliant! It’s not exactly the role you had in mind, but it is a great start. Remember that most people start in entry level positions and that’s reasonable. You have no reason to feel disheartened when you have to wait a little longer for your dream career. In fact, you want to acquire the necessary experience to be more valuable and more confident in your abilities to be an asset to any employer. Unless you are being treated wrongly and paid an incredibly low salary for your work, stay the course and enjoy the process. A stable job is a brilliant start, so work hard, stay focused and you will work your way up in no time.
Every little bit of experience from your new job will help you get ahead in the future. Enjoy the position you have been given and embrace every aspect of it. Talk to your successful colleagues and see what their career path was; you might just find common ground and opportunities to advance. Use their advice to further your career and make the most out of your current job.
Know Your Worth.
I believe you can achieve your career aspirations but only when chase them. This means doing the work and not simply asking for raises. I understand it the feeling, I have felt for it in the past. Many times, have I asked for a raise to realize after some self-analysis that I needed to improve my skills to deserve that raise. It is important that you know what you are suited for and understand where you fit into your company. Unless you must, don’t apply for jobs that are way below your skill level; make sure you are always striving to be the best you can be.
Putting in the best work raises your confidence in your own worth. In terms of salary, there are several websites that offer you a quick evaluation based on your degree, years of experience, job title and industry. You may try glassdoor.com, salary.com or the US Bureau of Labor Statistics website, bls.gov. Without having a sense of what you’re worth, you have no leverage when it comes to negotiating a salary.
Develop your leadership skills.
You may be the most intelligent employee ever hired by your employer. You could also be the hardest worker and/or the most loyal. However, unless you develop soft skills such as leadership and communication, it has been proven that you will most likely not have a successful career. These skills are crucial because as you move up, the technical skills are no longer as important as the leadership skills. Being able to communicate vision, solve relationship problems among workers, rally a corporation behind a goal and manage teams are skills that will set you apart from the pack and get you in leadership roles.
These are a few practices to embrace as you are building your career. As mentioned above, as the internet has revolutionized so many industries, it is affecting the recruiting industry as well. To succeed, you must participate and learn the ropes. Update you LinkedIn profile regularly, maintain good relationships with your connections and develop your people skills and build yourself a resourceful network in the marketplace.
***This post may contain affiliate links.