Job Search Tips Professional Development

How to Stand Out in a Competitive Job Market

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Written by Peter Jones

Due to the high volume of overqualified, over-degreed candidates flooding the market, you should always do as much as you can to distinguish yourself. This includes developing new skills, earning new qualifications and certifications, and sometimes, keeping a shrewd eye on skill sets that are most valuable across the widest swath of jobs.

Here are three particularly robust and versatile skills that will render you invaluable to almost any employer.

1. Business Development

This isn’t just for sales positions. At the end of the day, there are aspects of every job that require sales skills. And every business has people in roles that function as a kind of internal customer. Learning how to pitch ideas, appease different team members’ needs, and communicate effectively will help you build relationships, please the people you work with, and prove that you have what it takes to hold a team or a company together. It also never hurts to learn to sell what you need and want most.

2. Data Analysis

Data is everywhere. From small to big to massive. And knowing how to handle it is becoming a necessary skill—and one in higher and higher demand. No matter what your field, or position within your company (HR, communications, accounting, marketing), being able to mine data for useful information and then present that information is key. You’ll also need to bump up your oral and written communication skills, which will always be a plus. And be sure to stay up on the latest data extraction software platforms and techniques. Do this, and you’ll stay ahead of this burgeoning curve.

3. Leadership Skills

Not just “being a boss” or “managing a team” or “training new employees.” Many companies are looking for something a bit more ineffable, and much more useful. Catapult yourself to the top of the leadership line by demonstrating your fluency in collaboration (playing nicely with others and getting real results in the process), decision-making (aka taking the reins and exercising good judgment and control), and mentoring (really nurturing and bringing along younger or more inexperienced colleagues).

The more you can prove that you’re an ethical, well-respected, well-liked colleague and/or supervisor, the more a hiring manager or boss will notice and start getting really excited about hiring you—or doing everything they can to keep you on board.

Developing these skills is not a simple fix—more like a career-long strategy. But a very shrewd one that will prove to be rewarding, no matter what the outcomes.

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