Pandemic Permanently Changed The Job Market - Here's How To Stand Out In 2021
Gillian Kelly, Forbes 1118 Times 892 People

The lack of skilled IT workers is hurting the deployment of emerging technology, according to a new survey from Gartner. In areas from cloud to cybersecurity, this crisis is expected to last for years to come.

So what steps should you be taking now to make 2021 a year of career positivity?

The first thing to know is Covid-19 has likely changed careers and the job search permanently.

With many companies ditching offices and moving to new virtual hiring and remote work practices, the human resources department has evolved how and where they are hiring, what skills they are searching for and the way the post-pandemic workplace will operate.

For career success, embrace these five new practices in order to flourish.

1. Be proactive with micro-actions. Wait at your own expense.

With the job market expected to be affected by Covid-19 well into 2021, competition is going to be the hallmark of any job search. The key is to get on the front foot. Proactive people will rule the market.

Don't wait for a vacancy for your dream job or within your dream company — start building a target hirer list and taking daily actions to generate visibility and credibility with high-potential organizations.

Small micro-actions are easier and more effective than sweeping sporadic efforts. Join their talent communities, follow their social media accounts, progressively connect and become part of their network.

Set up three new micro-tasks every day aimed at moving you from being an unknown entity to a known, credible, high-potential talent.

2. Change it up. Being boring can be the riskiest strategy of all.

An OK resume isn't likely to land you in the top handful of candidates to be interviewed. You need to give them a reason to select you. It's time to get creative but not in a cringe-worthy singing telegram kind of way.

Look for ways to stand out that tap into the hirer's underlying business needs. Unearth the problems that keep management up at night or find potential opportunities that may make things better, faster, safer, easier or more profitable.

Make yourself impossible to ignore during your discussions or interview through ideas that show your potential return on investment and questions that show you are thinking about how to maximize your future impact on their business. Make no mistake if you want to win a hirer's attention, you need to show your potential worth on their balance sheet.

3. Broaden your search mindset. Job hunting just went global.

As remote working becomes an increasingly accepted norm, organizations are recognizing that their talent pool is potentially wider than it was previously.

"Work from anywhere" roles are becoming increasingly available, yet many job seekers are still only looking for roles in their own backyard.

Now is the time to start looking more broadly, beyond what's just in the surrounding suburbs around your home. Instead, consider organizations and industries hiring where you can offer value and start making a case for your employment.

4. Become your own public relations firm. Level up your digital calling card.

In the job market of today, hirers are beginning to realize the upside of proactive talent acquisition. Why would they want to sift through hundreds or even thousands of unsuitable applications when they have the technology to search, source and approach their dream hire?

If you want to be one of the lucky people chased by hirers to explore potential job opportunities, you need to ramp up your digital presence.

Start by auditing your digital footprint and assess the messaging it's sending. Are you attracting the right type of searches? How strong is your influence and credibility in your industry?

Now is the moment to begin investing time in your own PR. Dial-up the digital juice if you want maximum reach and impact with your target audience.

5. Plug the gap. You need to learn to earn in the future of work.

With technological innovation completely reshaping entire industries and vocations, skill gaps are emerging and rapidly increasing. Now isn't the time to rest on your laurels. If you are not growing, you are going backward. You need to invest in your skills if you don't want to be left behind.

The good news is you don't need to retrain in a completely new career, but you should be continually upskilling. Most industries are evolving, not evaporating.

If you want to remain relevant and valuable look at the trends on the horizon in your field or associated fields and take steps to upskill. This maybe by undertaking micro-credentials, a short online course, further study or reading the latest books.

It's safe to say 2020 was not the year we expected or wanted for our careers. The good news is 2021 is still yours to shape. Start now with proactive, mindful and decisive actions and turn 2021 into your year of opportunity.


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