THE ability to sell yourself, develop new skills and offer relevant experience are just some of the ways you can stand out in today’s jobs market, according to recruiting experts Hays.
You should also prepare, dress appropriately and listen to the question asked to avoid common jobseeker mistakes.
Job numbers remain good in Singapore but many jobseekers are failing to stand out and do themselves justice in today’s market.
For instance, when an employer is recruiting, it wants a proven performer who can hit the ground running and add immediate value to the business.
This means that you need to consolidate the experience you have. This is not the time to make a sideways move to a different career or industry. Instead, use your skills and experience to show potential employers you are a tried and tested candidate.
If you are a fresh graduate, professional work experience completed during your study is a huge benefit that will help you stand out from the crowd. Even a few weeks completed during semester break gives you an advantage over fellow graduates who have not taken the initiative to gain relevant experience.
Top five tips to stand out
Write an impressive resumé: Make a good first impression. Use a common program, such as MS Word, and start with your contact details.
List your education and qualifications and then your work experience in chronological order, beginning with the most recent.
If you have your own website profiling your work, include the URL, but do not submit it instead of a resumé. Proofread your resumé and take the time to get it right.
Sell yourself: Highlight one or two unique selling points to differentiate yourself in your resumé and in an interview.
For example, were you one of the highest achievers in your university cohort? Have you improved customer retention levels or led a project successfully? Have relevant examples and statistics at your fingertips.
Experience: The most valuable skill a jobseeker can have is relevant experience. For seasoned professionals, this means matching your existing skills and experience with the job requirements.
For fresh graduates, this means gaining relevant industry experience through volunteer work experience or a study placement.
Use your networks: Contact a recruiter, search job websites, use social media sites such as LinkedIn and talk to your networks, industry bodies and university alumni.
Develop new skills: Stay on top of industry trends to demonstrate to an employer that as its industry and business moves forward, you are moving forward with it.
Top five mistakes to avoid
Arriving late for your interview: Interviewers have heard every excuse when it comes to candidates arriving late. There should be no excuse. Anticipate traffic or public transport delays and leave the house earlier than you normally would. Often, you will only get one chance to get your foot in the door.
Failure to prepare: Another common jobseeker mistake is to fail to research the organisation prior to your interview. A company’s website, professional bodies, annual reports, your networks and your recruitment expert will help you gain a better understanding of the business and how your experience and skills match. Use this to prepare for likely interview questions and prepare questions to ask at the end of the interview.
Dressing inappropriately: You should look professional, act professionally and dress professionally for your interview.
Inability to listen: Listen carefully, give the interviewer your full attention and answer the question asked. If you are asked behavioural questions, such as “Describe an occasion when…” you need to answer with a relevant real-life example. Do not evade the question — it is more obvious than you think.
Inappropriate use of social media: A growing number of employers are now extending their vetting process to include social media, particularly when they feel a candidate might not be what he is portraying himself to be in an interview.
Change your privacy settings and be sensible in the content you post online. Failure to be aware of your digital footprint is a huge mistake in today’s market.