Make yourself the obvious choice for your dream job

How to Stand Out in a Competitive Job Market

Just six months ago, we published an article about employee retention that read, “the lack of qualified workers is so acute… that some positions remain open for years.” With the US unemployment rate pushing 10% and millions of recent college graduates entering the job market, it’s safe to say this is no longer true. If you’re struggling to find a new job or freelance gigs, now’s the time to stand out and make yourself an attractive prospect to potential employers. 

Build a Great Web Presence

We’ve already written at length about the importance of looking good online because 77% of recruiters Google a candidate before going forward with an interview. Not every recruiter does this, but the fact is your online presence validates your skills and viability as a job candidate. On top of that, the popularity contest you thought you left behind in high school has returned in the form of social media, except now its quantified with likes and followers. If you haven’t already, it’s time to embrace it and generate a small but engaged following by sharing your work and process

Use your interests and hobbies to network

Get a Life Outside of Work

You’re unemployed? Volunteer. You’re employed? Keep volunteering. Volunteering of any kind is a great way to meet new people, learn leadership skills, and feel good about the work you’re doing. From a professional standpoint, it gives you a chance to learn new skills in a relatively low-pressure environment and signals to recruiters that you’re probably a half-decent human being. Don’t let self-quarantine and social distancing get in the way, either—stay connected to volunteer networks with these 25 volunteer-from-home opportunities.

Hobbies and side projects are another fun way to learn new skills. Best of all, side hustles sometimes turn into businesses themselves.

Widen Your Search Net, But Be Selective

It’s 2020 and the number of job search sites and freelance gig platforms out there is overwhelming (78 on this roundup alone!). Nearly all let you set up search queries that automatically email new listings directly to your inbox. It’s easier to sift through a curated list of jobs sent directly to you than trawl a dozen different sites.

Once you’ve got a nice variety of jobs coming in, read listings carefully before committing to applying. Better to write well-crafted cover letters to a handful of jobs that match your interests and skills than a “shotgun” approach that has you sending out dozens of boilerplate letters to every remotely relevant job. There are real people reading on the other end, and you’ll stand out much better with a personable but brief cover letter.

Learning new skills makes you more employable

The More You Learn, the More You Earn

Even if going back to a physical school was an option right now, why bother? Online classes from LinkedInLearning, Skillshare, and General Assembly (among others) teach software skills just as well as brick-and-mortar vocational schools. Prices can vary widely, but generally scale up commensurate with the depth of course material and the amount of attention you get from real human instructors. For industry veterans, it’s a great way to catch up on the latest trends since you graduated a million years ago. For fresh grads light on experience, look for certification programs to bolster your resume.

Work with a Recruiter

Like the Robin to your Batman, recruiters do the grunt work of finding jobs or gigs tailored to your interests, then get out of the way so you can save the day with heroic graphics, copy, UX, or code. Recruiters only get paid when you do, so they work hard to find you as many gigs (or jobs) as you can handle. Best of all, when you’re applying for a role, having a recruiter do the outreach puts you at the front of the line because the association means you’ve already been vetted. 

Want more? Learn how to convince a hiring manager you're right for the job.

No matter where you’re at in your career—industry vet or fresh out of college—everyone can do more to stand out from their peers. If you’re still not finding the job opportunities you’re looking for, reach out to us! Artisan recruiters have been connecting talent with full-time employment and freelance gigs for over 30 years.

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