Finding a new job is one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions.
But as the world of work is changing, the market becomes increasingly competitive and 2022 is a demanding year for job-hunters
If you’ve been in your current role for a long time, your skills can become static and getting yourself back into the job market presents a challenge. Not to mention, if it’s been a long time since you’ve been on the candidate’s side of the hiring process, your interview skills may be a little rusty, and with the ever-changing landscape of the workplace, it’s good to know what employers are looking for in the current climate.
We’ve explored in previous blogs the reasons it’s important to grow and develop in your career. But pushing your progression requires personal development and a refresh to your professional skills and attributes that keeps them relevant to today’s workplaces.
So if you’re looking for ways to spruce up your CV and enhance your workplace appeal, these are just seven ways to enhance your employability in 2022.
1. Perfect your CV – and your cover letter
Your curriculum vitae should put your best foot forward.
And while you may, at the beginning of your job hunt, feel a temptation to send CVs out in digital batches on recruitment sites, don’t hit send just yet.
Adapting your CV to the roles you’re applying for is essential to stand out from the crowd. You don’t have to rewrite your resume completely for each position, but make sure that you’ve spotlighted your most relevant skills and experience to show that you’re the right candidate for the job.
You should also include a cover letter – while this format might seem outdated and obsolete, research indicates that 74% of decision-makers in hiring processes prefer to receive cover letters with applications. Moreover, around 60% of roles require them, and in instances where they are listed as optional, more than 70% of recruiters prefer – and even expect – to receive them.
This is no mere formality – although it highlights your commitment to the role, it’s also an opportunity to explain, in a few brief paragraphs, why you’re the best fit for the job.
Your CV and cover letter are responsible for creating an employer’s first impression of you – make it count.
2. Practice your interview techniques
You can’t always predict what questions you’ll be asked in an interview. But by taking a look at typical questions online, you can prepare yourself to handle some of the most common queries
The best rule of course is to be yourself. But it’s important to be able to read between the lines, and understand what employers are really looking for when they ask certain questions.
For instance, when asking about your weaknesses, no one wants to hear stock answers, such as “I’m a perfectionist,” or “I work too hard.” Instead, they want to know about your self-awareness and ability to reflect and improve upon your skillset.
So rather than simply offering up a list your weaknesses, or delivering an answer that risks coming across as disingenuous, discuss a genuine flaw of yours, and how you work to beat it. For instance, you might say ‘I struggle with my confidence, so I work to foster strong relationships with my team members which enables me to be forthcoming with my ideas in collaborative projects.’
While there’s no way to prepare fully for an interview, having certain answers ready in advance gives you a significant advantage and prevent you being caught off guard.
3. Master new skills
You should always be looking to learn new things and develop new skills – without it, your career progression and personal satisfaction will grow stale.
This may range from learning skills outside of your job description to boosting your soft skills to gaining a new qualification.
Naturally, we’re great advocates of distance learning. But it truly is a fantastic way to keep your skills relevant, particularly as agility in remote working environments becomes increasingly essential across sectors and industries in today’s world.
It’s also a good way to balance your growth with your role, as you put new learned skills into practice alongside your role to strengthen your academic understanding and your job performance.
A new qualification will not only equip you with new and essential skills for your dream role, but shows a future employer that you take active steps to further your personal development with initiative, a highly sought after quality – employers want ambitious self-starters that aren’t afraid to take the lead when it comes to getting ahead, and many will even offer support in the form of finance or flexibility to assist your studies. And as well as the long-term benefits of gaining new qualifications, the flexibility of distance learning allows you to enhance your skillset alongside your new role.
4. Expand your hobbies
The ‘hobbies and interests’ portion of your CV can feel a little pointless – does your potential future employer really care if you enjoy reading, skiing or baking?
Whilst these things may seem irrelevant in the world of work, including these hobbies on your CV can be an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Employers seek well-rounded candidates, and while the interests listed on your CV don’t have to relate directly to your field, they can be a reflection of your suitability for a role. For instance, if you play music or perform amateur dramatics in your spare time, it shows that you’re confident, creative and not afraid to speak in front of a crowd. Meanwhile if you’re an avid reader or enjoy puzzles, it reflects an analytical and inquisitive nature. And if you enjoy arts and crafts, it shows you have a good eye for detail. These skills are highly useful in a workplace environment.
These pastimes are not just useful to list on your CV – it’s also a question that sometimes gets asked in interviews to get a feel for your personality and gauge whether you’re a good fit for the company culture.
And like any other question in an interview scenario, it’s all about how you express yourself. Are you able to speak confidently on areas of interest to you, as well as your working life? If you can’t sell yourself on a personal level, it doesn’t reflect well on your ability to present yourself in a professional environment. Furthermore, expanding your interests is an opportunity to expand your horizons and boost your personal fulfilment.
5. Get into networking
Growing your network is a fantastic way to find new opportunities in your industry.
As they say, it’s who you know, and whether that’s recruiters, head hunters, or simply friends in high places, knowing the right people can get you places.
Having a network of fellow professionals in your industry is also highly useful as it enables you to learn from their knowledge and experience. And many professional bodies, such as the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) offer mentoring schemes and services designed to provide support for those seeking to develop in their fields.
And in the social media age, LinkedIn is becoming an increasingly popular means of industry networking, as well as a tool for recruiters to seek out new talent. By making the most of this platform, you’re placing yourself in the best position to find new opportunities. Of course, if you’re job hunting, it’s also a good idea to polish up your online profiles – and not just on LinkedIn. Make sure that anything public (or visible with a quick Google search) is something you’d be happy for a potential future employer to see.
Networking is a chance to open doors, discover new opportunities, engage further in your industry and learn from fellow professionals.
6. Stay up to date in your industry
This is a must for performance in any role, but if you’re actively looking for a new job, it’s important to be in the know about the latest happenings in your industry.
Ensure your knowledge is up to date at all times – keep abreast of topical issues and how they impact your sector. As well as its aforementioned benefits, LinkedIn is a great resource to keep abreast of industry news via other users and professional organisations.
Staying up to date is not just important to show that you’re in the know – it will also help to keep your skillset fresh and shape your development by understanding both new and long-standing challenges in your field.
7. Focus your mindset
It might sound like a cliché, but a positive mindset really is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your job-hunting mission.
With clear goals and an upbeat outlook, employers will instantly recognise your can-do attitude as a willingness and ability to tackle any challenge that comes your way.
Find encouragement and inspiration wherever you can find it – from those around you in your workplace or course, from thought leaders and motivational podcasters or simply from personal affirmations. Continuously investing not only in your personal skills, but your overall mentality in your role will help you stay focused and attain your goals.
Ace the hiring process at every stage with these seven tips.
Want to know more about career progression, personal development and distance learning? Take a look at the following blogs.