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Hays US Blog

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Seven ways to boost your employability  

By: Hays recruitment expert on June 23rd, 2021

If you have come to the realization that the time is right to make a change and find a new job, you’ll want to follow these tips to help boost your employability. Whatever you aspire to achieve in your career, Hays will help you along the way to ensure your professional dreams become a reality.

1. Think about the skills you will need to reach your career goals: If you want to move closer to reaching your professional goals, it is crucial to subjectively take a look at your current skillset, and then make concrete plans to fill any gaps you may have. It’s vital to appreciate the difference between skills and competencies, skills being the specific learned abilities, and the competencies being knowledge and behaviors that contribute to your success in a job. By understanding the differences between the two, you’ll gain a better awareness of which areas you need to focus on to reach your career goals.

2. Focus on self-awareness to improve the way you’re perceived: A study of senior executives, by Cornell University, found that self-aware leaders with strong interpersonal skills consistently delivered better financial performance. But what exactly does being ‘self-aware’ mean in the world of work? If you are self-aware, you know your strengths and weaknesses and understand how other people perceive you.

A good starting point in establishing greater self-awareness is asking yourself what three words you want people to most associate you with. Developing a greater sense of self-awareness can only ever be a good thing when striving to reach our career goals. Acknowledging your own strengths and weaknesses can also help you to identify the right job opportunities – rather than spending time on a job application that isn’t right for you. 

3. Have a clear understanding of your unique selling proposition (USP): It’s important to start thinking about what your USP is. While you’ve likely heard of USPs, you’ve probably never associated them with people. Many of the principles of USPs can apply to jobseekers.

To determine your USP, answer the following questions:

  • Why should an employer hire you over any other candidate?
  • What is it that you can bring to the table that other candidates can’t?
  • What unique skills or experiences do you have that could add real value?
  • Do you consider yourself to be particularly creative or innovative?

Also, think about any specific examples you can cite which clearly showcase your USPs to both recruiters and hiring managers. Perhaps your innovative thinking and new ideas led to new processes being rolled out, and therefore saving time and money. Or perhaps your strong communication skills and compassionate leadership style improved your employer’s retention of high performers.

Take some time to reflect on what tangible impact your unique skills have had on the teams and businesses you’ve worked for. Thinking about this ahead of time will help you tell your career story in a succinct, compelling, and undisputable way – which will really help you stand out from the competition.

Don’t forget to also update your resume and LinkedIn profile (especially your ‘About’ section) with the USPs you’ve now decided on, as well as tangible evidence for these.




4. Make a commitment to improving your social media presence: If there’s one aspect of how you present yourself that will definitely influence how a prospective employer perceives you, it’s your social media activity.

Social media can be an extremely powerful tool when you are searching for a new role and wishing to attract potential employers to you. There’s many things that you can do across social networks to make yourself a more intriguing prospect for hiring managers, including:

  • Writing about things you have learnt or have pre-existing knowledge in
  • Sharing other people’s content that is relevant to your line of work
  • Adding examples of your work to your profiles, and sharing successes with your social ‘friends’ or followers.

If you want to present a positive and professional image avoid posting inappropriate material and being active on social networks during working hours. Showcase your USPs and put them front and center on your social media accounts, like LinkedIn.

5. Consider what you’re looking for in a new role and new employer: Next, put some real thought into what it is you’re looking for in a new opportunity. The more comprehensive your understanding is of what you are seeking in a new job and employer, the better you will be at targeting your job search. Before starting your job search, ask yourself these questions:

  • What salary and benefits package are you looking for?
  • What kind of role would represent a sensible step towards your long-term career goals?
  • What technical and soft skills are you looking to develop?
  • What kind of culture and work environment would you like to join?
  • What might your ‘deal-breakers’ be?
  • What are you prepared to be flexible about?

6. Be prepared to take some risks: Contrary to the popular perception that the best way to build a career is always to take the most obvious and incremental steps, but taking a few calculated professional risks could actually go a long way to making yourself more employable. Sometimes a ‘risky’ decision can end up being the right one.

Imagine how much you could expand your experience and skillset if you were to switch to a different industry, or move to an organization that is significantly larger or smaller than your current employer.

But it’s important not to take a gamble just for the sake of it. The wisdom of taking a particular risk will differ depending on your own particular priorities, circumstances and ambitions. You should always do your research, carefully consider exactly what opportunities a particular career move could bring you, and ensure that whatever decision you make is well-reasoned.

7. Keep positive and stay motivated when searching for a new job: A bright outlook and positive attitude will greatly help in improving how recruiters, hiring managers and interviewers perceive you – bringing you one step closer to that much-desired job offer.

It’s understandable that your initial positivity and motivation may fade if your job search begins to last longer than you had expected, so you might want to take a look at our tips to help you along your job hunt. This includes reminding yourself why you are seeking a new role in the first place, as well as learning how to deal with rejection constructively and giving yourself occasional time off from your job search.

Finally, a positive frame of mind isn’t just good for your own wellbeing – it also demonstrates to a prospective employer that you can deal with unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances constructively. This is a skill in and of itself and employers want to recruit people who can perform strongly on the job, while overcoming unexpected challenges and developing under pressure.

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