7 surefire ways to make yourself more marketable to employers
Want to stand out from the crowd and get hired fast? Use these tips to promote your own skills and experience.
Nobody likes a braggart, but in the working world, you often need to pat yourself on the back in public because few people will do it for you. Whether you’re in the market for a new job or not, you should be taking every opportunity to show employers how awesome you are. Don’t wait for others to shine the spotlight in your direction—it’s your responsibility to sell your skills and experience.
Of course, if you walk around tooting your own horn at maximum volume, people will be put off. The good news is there are plenty of low-key ways you can market your talents without coming off as pretentious. Here are seven ways to become more attractive to prospective employers.
Demonstrate your soft skills
The types of hard skills that are in demand can change from year to year, says Vicki Salemi, career expert at Monster. Soft skills, though, “will always be in fashion,” she says. Indeed, recent research from the Society for Human Resource Management found that employers care more about soft skills than they do technical abilities like reading comprehension and mathematics.
Teamwork, problem solving, and conflict-resolution skills are particularly valuable to employers, no matter what industry you’re in, Salemi says. To show you possess these talents and other soft skills during job interviews, be prepared to share anecdotes that illustrate how you’ve applied them in the past. (e.g., “I'm a team player. I know you've heard that before, so let me give you an example.”)
Gain management experience
Easier said than done, right? Well, here’s a little secret: You don’t have to have a management position to gain leadership experience, which is something all employers covet, Salemi says. For example, managing your company’s intern pool will give you the opportunity to learn how to motivate a team and prove you can deliver results as a leader.
Pro tip: Find ways to improve your company’s internship program. This gives you something you can highlight on your resume and tout during job interviews.
Build a strong presence on social media
Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms can help you build your brand, showcase your industry knowledge, and connect with influencers in your field. A strong presence on social media can also help you get spotted by recruiters.
The key is to stay active. Don't just create a profile and let it collect dust—write posts regularly. Starting a new job? Post an update. Going to an industry conference? Tweet live updates from the event. Also, have a professional-looking headshot. (This isn’t your dating profile!)
Become active in a professional association
Simply joining an industry group and paying dues isn’t enough. To truly impress employers, you have to take on an active role in the organization. For example, volunteer to be the person who wrangles expert speakers for conferences—or, even better, be a panelist yourself.
Becoming active in a professional association can also be great for networking. "You're building relationships with people who are going to hire you," says Kathryn Ullrich, partner at executive job search firm Odgers Berndtson.
Acquire new skills
Take a look at the job ads in your industry, and see what types of skills employers are hurting for—then go acquire those skills that you don’t yet have under your belt. Gaining in-demand certifications or accreditations has never been easier (or more affordable) thanks to training and education websites that offer courses in a wide range of fields. Want to learn basic coding? Or sharpen your Excel skills? You can do it all from home. More good news: Many of these classes are free.
Monster’s partners at Skillshare offer more than 10,000 online classes to help you brush up on Photoshop, public speaking, and other skills. You can learn at your own pace from your computer or mobile device. The best part? Monster members get a sweet deal: three months for $0.99.
Another way to upgrade your skill set is by volunteering. Offering your time at your favorite charity lets you give back to others, gain perspective, and meet new people (i.e. expand your network). Plus, showing your charitable side is attractive to prospective employers. And, volunteering can be a positive way to get training in areas your current or past jobs didn't provide.
Not sure where to volunteer? Monster has thousands of volunteer positions that you can apply for today.
Boost your resume with numbers—and a free review
When applying to jobs, you want to quantify your achievements on your resume and cover letter, and during interviews. “Use numbers to tell a story,” says Los Angeles executive coach Libby Gill. “Data illustrates your experience and expertise.” Without these numbers, you’re basically just talking about your responsibilities.
For instance, specify on your resume that you managed a $1 million annual budget, or that you identified a new Internet service provider that cut costs by 15%. “Anything that shows you improved the company’s bottom line is especially compelling,” says Scott Vedder, a Fortune 100 recruiter and author of Signs of a Great Resume.
Take it a step further and refine your resume to meet the needs of the employer. Need some help with that? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service. You'll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume's appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter's first impression. Monster’s experts can show you which of your skills are most marketable, depending on the job post to which you’re applying, so your first impression is as strong as possible.