Becoming (and staying) marketable is about making yourself indispensable to your current employer or irresistible to a prospective one. It is a commitment to continually expanding your skills and knowledge in order to stay current, competitive and in a strong position to compete for jobs in different market contexts.
Use the tips below to improve your employment options through all stages of the economic cycle.
1. Upgrade your skills
Keeping your skills fresh, current and relevant is the best way to stay marketable. Align your skillset with your company’s plans, as well as those of potential employers, and keep up-to-date by attending workshops and conferences to expand and improve your skillset.
Identify any gaps that need addressing to position yourself as a highly valuable employee. Focusing on developing your transferable skills (in leadership, communication, or technology for example) is a smart investment in diversifying and upgrading your career.
2. Expand your learning
Continual learning illustrates your commitment to improvement. Remember that you need to be up-to-date with industry best practice and technology, even if this knowledge isn’t in use within your current position. Strengthening your knowledge and qualifications is an important way to increase the value you represent to a current or potential employer.
You can gain new skills and knowledge through in-house training, distance learning, and online courses. Online seminars and industry publications are also a great way to keep up with your industry, making it easier to transfer into a new career in the future.
3. Review your resume
Refresh your resume with recent achievements and current skills so that you can act on opportunities as they arise. Update your resume with tangible examples of your accomplishments, such as improving business processes, contributing to the bottom line, or any important conferences or workshops you were invited to. Keeping a record of your achievements is also a good reminder of the value you add to your current role.
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4. Be flexible
In the constantly evolving job market, keeping an open mind and remaining flexible about your employment preferences will open a world of additional career opportunities. You may need to reconsider your expectations in terms of industry, salary and/or job type (permanent, contract, or temporary) in order to keep your options open and avoid limiting your employability.
5. Expand your network
Your network of contacts is one of the most useful job search and career development tools you have. Make the effort to attend professional association meetings, events and conferences. As well as building your reputation as a well-connected and valued professional, networking helps to keep you top of mind when opportunities arise within or outside your company.
6. Stay informed
It is critical to anticipate what skills employers will need now and into the future. Keep up-to-date with relevant trade journals, industry research and job advertisements. Staying abreast of developments and opportunities in your industry gives you a strong indicator of the type of skills currently in demand, as well as those likely to be valuable in the future, allowing you to anticipate future career opportunities.
7. Establish a personal brand
Remember that you are essentially selling yourself to a future employer, so make sure your personal brand is consistent. Anything you update in your resume should also be updated in your LinkedIn profile, and consider having a professional headshot taken to include in the profile.
8. Show your work
Keep samples of your best work – as long as they are not the intellectual property of your current employer – and establish an online portfolio. This is an easy way to show that you value your work, and its quality. Make sure you attach the portfolio to your LinkedIn profile to make it easier for potential employers to see what you’re capable of.
9. Get a mentor
Talk to your manager, or someone in a role or career you might be interested in down the track about getting a mentor. Find out what helped them get to where they want to be, or what they might be looking for in hiring for a similar position. If there is particular skillset or achievement you need you can work on it ahead of time and be able to present yourself as a more desirable candidate for a new position.
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