How to enhance your chances of success and make a positive impression on potential employers
For those starting 2024 as a job seeker, I suggest prioritizing and focusing on the following:
- Your communication skills
Make constantly developing your communication skills a priority. Nothing makes you more powerful than being literate and articulate. Your communication skills serve you more than anything else; therefore, constantly strive to improve them. (e.g., active listening, speaking with confidence, writing, body language, presentation) Check out Coursera and Udemy, which offer free courses on improving your communication skills.
- Your likeability
Like it or not, hiring is essentially a judgment process, especially during interviews during which your interviewer(s) asks themselves, Do I like this person? I’ve yet to meet a manager who hired a candidate they didn’t like.
Being likable supersedes your skills and experience. Being likable (aka charismatic) is underestimated by job seekers because they mistakenly believe their experience and skills are enough to land them a job.
Being likeable isn’t an innate personality trait. With effort and commitment, you can develop a likeable personality. Step one: start showing interest in other people. Showing interest in someone is a massive gesture that makes you memorable; this is certainly true when interviewing. When interviewing, most job seekers focus on expressing their interest in the job.
Imagine how you would impact your interviewer if you showed interest in them. The next time you have an interview, keep asking yourself, How can I help this person? With this question in mind, you’ll ask your interviewer open-ended questions, such as asking to describe their current situation, goals, challenges, and ideal solution to get them to talk about their and the company’s pain points. Then, you explain how your skills and experience can mitigate their pain points.
Step two, if you haven’t already, read, while holding a highlighter, Dale Carnegie’s timeless 1936 classic How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Even in our current Digital Age, Carnegie’s advice is as relevant as ever, if not more so, because social skills are rapidly disappearing; therefore, having interpersonal skills makes you stand out.
- Your LinkedIn profile
Job seekers, as well as those wanting to manage their career and personal brand, need to take LinkedIn seriously to the extent of mastering it.
According to Social Sheppard, an award-winning Social Media Marketing Agency based in the UK, LinkedIn has over one billion users globally, making the social media platform a job seeker’s best friend.
Do not underestimate the potential visibility to key decision-makers – hiring managers, HR managers, business owners, C-Suite executives, and recruiters – a well-crafted LinkedIn profile can provide. Creating and maintaining (READ: regularly participating on LinkedIn) an employer-magnet profile will result in recruiters and hiring managers contacting you with opportunities you wouldn’t have received with a less-than-stellar profile.
Your job search and career advancement will enormously benefit from a rockstar-like LinkedIn profile that shows you get things done; hence, keep improving your LinkedIn profile’s five most important features:
- Professional photo/background banner.
- Strong headline. (Use one of the following headline formulas: (a) What you do + Who you help + How (b) Current job title + Company + Unique value proposition (c) What you do + Who you help + Personal detail)
- Compelling summary. (Ensure it is keyword-rich and SEO-optimized)
- Employment experiences that focus on the results you achieved.
- Skills you’d like endorsed.
Once you have your LinkedIn profile as close to perfection as possible – always keep polishing it – you, especially if you’re a job seeker, need to be active on LinkedIn every day. Write/post articles, comment on posts showcasing your knowledge, and connect with recruiters, peers, influencers, and professionals in your field.
- How you physically present yourself
We all know that life is unfair. Life’s biggest unfairness is that image is everything. It’s in our DNA to judge a book by its cover. You do it, I do it, we all do it; therefore, ask yourself: What impression do I make when someone sees me for the first time?
When your interviewer comes to meet you in the reception area, before you say one word, they will judge your appearance. I’m not saying you must look like Selena Gomez or Ryan Reynolds. Focus on looking your best.
Go to the gym, lose weight, shop with someone whose fashion sense you admire, whiten your teeth. Looking your best increases your self-esteem and feeling confident – confidence breeds success.
- Your digital footprint
When was the last time you Googled yourself?
In several columns, I’ve stated that before inviting you for an interview, you’ll be Googled to see if you’re interview-worthy. Managing your online reputation is a must! Your online presence speaks for you before you do. If you’re not getting interviews, have you considered it might be because of your online reputation?
If you’re concerned about your digital footprint hurting your job search, I suggest reading Oz Tollman Goodman’s blog, Cleaning Your Digital Footprint Prior to Job Searching.
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job.
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