Careers advice

How do you stand out in a crowded job market?

Tips to ensure you end up on top of the pile.

Hiring managers and recruiters often receive heaps of applications when they advertise roles on sites like Trade Me Jobs, meaning they have to wade through many different CVs and cover letters in their search to find a good shortlist of candidates to bring in to interview.

For job hunters, this may sound a tad demoralising, but it shouldn’t be. This knowledge should spur you on to create the best possible application, demonstrating why you are the most suitable person out of all these candidates. In other words, you should be feeling motivated to make sure your job application stands out to employers.

But how, exactly, do you do this? In this article, we’ll run through some tips for creating an application that truly shines and will increase your chances of being selected from amongst a crowded job market.

How to make yourself stand out to employers

1. Work on your online presence

Efficiency is the name of the game as far as hiring managers and recruiters are concerned. Hiring a new staff member can be an expensive process, both in terms of time and money, so anything that speeds up the time in which they find the perfect candidate will be a huge plus for these professionals.

This means that recruitment is taking on an increasingly digital element, with those doing the hiring looking to find candidates through online platforms, such as a Trade Me Jobs Profile. Tools like this, when used well, provide a succinct and easy-to-read summary of a candidate’s relevant skills and experience, making them the perfect place for employers to assess an individual’s suitability at a glance.

For you, as a job hunter, creating a good digital presence is, therefore, an important and easy way to help yourself stand out in a competitive job market. Crucially, maximising the benefits of your Trade Me Jobs profile means regularly updating it so that it reflects where you’re at currently. It’s no good having a detailed and well formatted profile that hasn’t been updated for the last three years. Employers want to get as full a picture as they can, so make life easy for them, and you’ll be doing yourself a favour.

Make yourself visible to employers with a Trade Me Jobs profile.

2. Keep learning

Long gone are the days when education stopped at school or university. With the rapid developments in technology, it’s up to all of us to be continually on the lookout for new ways to upskill ourselves.

In particular, we recommend looking into micro-credential courses. These learning opportunities are often specifically geared towards those who are already in work, and who don’t want to take a full-blown career break in order to get a new qualification under their belts. Such programmes tend to provide job-ready skills that can help you in your quest to climb the ladder in your chosen field, pivot towards a new career path, or re-enter the workforce after a period away from work.

3. Don’t neglect the power of networking

In a competitive job market, the most successful candidates are often those with multiple job hunting strategies in play at once. This might mean, for example, continuing to apply for jobs in the traditional way, by searching for relevant listings on Trade Me Jobs, but also keeping an ear to the ground through your network of potential opportunities that might be coming down the track.

Remember, one of the keys to successful networking is by ensuring mutual benefit from the relationship. In other words, don’t just tap into your network when you need help, such as with finding a job, but also look for opportunities through which you can offer assistance, support or advice to them. This could be, for example, sending through useful articles or links that you know will stimulate their minds, or help them work through a specific problem.

Your network can be a powerful tool to help you stand out in a competitive job market.

4. Develop leadership skills

Even if you aren’t applying for a leadership position, employers are always on the lookout for candidates who have the traits of a good leader, or at least the potential to develop them.

Why is this?

Well, one reason is obvious. When employers hire a new staff member, they’re usually thinking long term. They want someone who can grow with the organisation and, ideally, take on a leadership role in the future.

The other reason is that many of the most important leadership skills are simply traits of the best employees, that’s why these people end up as leaders. Here, we’re talking about skills such as:

  • Emotional intelligence.
  • Communication skills.
  • Oversight.
  • Decision making.
  • Integrity.
  • Emotional intelligence.
  • Delegation.
  • Team building.
  • Guidance.
  • Positivity.

You can work on developing leadership skills in a variety of ways, including:

  • Engaging with your networkcareer mentors, in particular, can be a great source of knowledge when it comes to developing your leadership skills.
  • Courses – there are courses you can take, both online and in-person, to help you develop specific leadership skills. A good example is taking a public speaking course.
  • Setting yourself goals – for example, you might set yourself the objective of running team-building workshops for your team, with the permission of your manager, in order to develop your own leadership skills.

5. Do some volunteering

In highly competitive job markets, a great way to stand out is to show your commitment to something you’re passionate about by volunteering your time and expertise for free.

Not only are you doing something worthwhile by volunteering, this is also an excellent career development tool. You’ll learn new skills (particularly soft skills), meet new contacts and you’ll have something else to put on the CV.

Employers often love to see volunteer experience on candidates’ CVs, as it shows a drive and determination to go above and beyond the 9-5, as well as indicating that you’re an overall good egg!

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