Finding it hard to stay ahead of the competition? Do you feel completely lacking in confidence when it comes to seeking out, applying for, and interviewing at prospective jobs? According to a LinkedIn expert who focuses on market shifts and analyzes how applicants can get ahead of the competition, there are three secrets you should keep in mind while job searching to increase your chances of getting hired for any job.
1. Focus not on who you know, but who your contacts know
The number of people actively looking for work increased steadily over the past few years. But as of May 2016, 5.5 million jobs were still open. More employers are looking for top class talent and more workers are hoping to switch to better companies or fields. The way to use this to your advantage is to tap into your network. Companies prefer to hire candidates referred by a source they trust. Even if you don’t know someone at a company you’re applying to, figure out who you know that might know someone there.
And remember: it’s often not your sister or best friend who’ll land you your next job. It could be anyone: your babysitter’s aunt, your coworker’s former neighbor, etc. First degree connections are great, but not the be all and end all. Think bigger than your immediate circle and branch out to use your whole network. Accept the third degree.
2. Focus not on what your degree says, but what you actually know
Your major doesn’t matter that much. Besides, industries are changing so much and so rapidly these days that it is almost impossible to predict what the best field of study would be to land the work that will be most in demand–or how to meet the expanding demands of that industry. Focus on proving yourself to be a lifelong learner. Constantly accept opportunities to build new skills. Choose a field of study that gives you the broadest swatch of skill and knowledge. And then figure out how to put what you know into the proper context for any given job. Always think about how your particular group of skills could translate the position you’re applying for, and focus on communicating that.
3. Focus on the power you do have
It can feel powerless to be on the job market, but it doesn’t have to. Advances in technology and the gig economy mean that power is ever-shifting into the hands of job seekers. Be ready to wield it. Keep an eye on the market and be ready to pounce on new opportunities. It soon may be the case that companies come looking for you when you’re in the market for a challenging new opportunity. Until then, keep an open mind, and build your brand.
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