It is essential to be aware of the highly demanded soft skills in the market and work toward gaining or honing those skills
Derek Sivers, an entrepreneur and musician shared several life changing experiences throughout his career in an interview with Tim Ferriss on the popular podcast called The Tim Ferriss Show. Derek shares a story of when he was 18 and played in a band. One day the bass player of the band told Derek that he could not go to play in a pig show in Vermont and asked Derek if he wanted to. Derek was ecstatic and took the paying gig. He did well at the pig show and then got a call to play at an art opening. One thing led to another and Derek received many more opportunities to play in other events later on.
Derek shares that when you are starting out in your career, the best thing you can do is to say yes to all the opportunities that come your way. You never know what it could lead to, whom you will meet or what the future holds. When you take on projects and capitalize on the available opportunities, you will realize what you are good at and what you are not good at. No work should be looked at as too small or not important enough. You will be accumulating experience with every gig and project. There is no need to wait for the perfect job and there might not even be a perfect job out there as you might have initially imagined. I strongly believe that each work experience will better prepare you and lead to more opportunities in the future.
Based on a recent LinkedIn report, the top five soft skills that companies need most in 2019 are creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management. As a working professional, young professional or college/graduate student, it is important to hone the above skills and be able to showcase those traits in your professional or academic life. It is essential to be aware of the highly demanded soft skills in the market and work toward gaining or honing those skills.
Ways to explore
Whether you are about to graduate from college and looking for a job or currently in a job and want to switch to another job, it is vital to do the necessary research, apply for the job(s), and be ready for the interview. There are numerous ways to apply for jobs. The easiest way to apply is through online portals and there are pros and cons to using them. As technology enables job seekers to easily search and apply for jobs, it is best to also consider different avenues where you can land an interview with the right company. Using a variety of approaches listed below can help a job seeker land an interview and hopefully a job.
One of the best ways to get a job is to talk to your friends and relatives and let them know that you are actively looking for a job. Companies are always looking for great talent and the best way to get an interview is through someone already working at the company that can refer you. Some companies offer a referral bonus to the employee if the candidate they referred accepts the job and works for a certain period of time. Thus, there is incentive for employees to bring good talent to their companies. This approach can help you get an interview and then it is all in your hands to convince the potential employer why you are the best candidate for the job. Individuals who get the opportunity for an interview through a referral should do their homework and be very prepared. Otherwise, lack of seriousness for the job or unpreparedness of the interviewee will harm the employee who actually referred you. No employee will want to refer a candidate to the job that ruins his or her reputation.
Another way to get noticed and land an interview is to reach out to people on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great tool for professionals. You can build your personal brand by writing articles, posts, as well as adding people in your network. Instead of just adding people randomly on LinkedIn, it is better to attend events, network with the right people and then add them on LinkedIn. This way you have a professional way to start the conversation and build meaningful relationships. The quality of the relationship is more important than the number of people you have added on LinkedIn. I know a few individuals who have received amazing work opportunities by connecting with the right people and applying to jobs via LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile should be updated, professional, and represent the best version of yourself.
An additional way to land an interview for a job is by reaching out to the alumni of your college or university. For example, if you are currently studying at Apex College, you can research on companies where graduates of Apex College are currently working. Once you have researched the companies, reach out to them via email or LinkedIn and let them know you are interested in a job. There might also be companies started by Apex College graduates and this would be a good starting point for job seekers. There is a very good chance that graduates of a particular college or university are more likely to help others who went to the same college or university. Be proactive and reach out to them.
Build your network
Last but not the least, you can build your network and land conversations with the right people through volunteering. When you volunteer, you will have the opportunity to meet many people. Some of the people that you meet can be a project manager, a sales manager or even a CEO. While doing good work out there in the world through volunteering, you will also be making friends and building your network. You can also volunteer at a conference, meetup, or anywhere that you could meet the right people. Most people will not consider volunteering to land a coffee meeting or even an interview. However, I personally believe this is a good way to meet people and build trustworthy connections that can be used to enhance your professional network.
In conclusion, there are many ways to land an interview and ultimately a job. A job seeker should try various ways to land interviews and not limit him/herself to only one approach. There is no one solution that works for everyone in the job search process. What works for someone else might not work for you.
The author works at Fusemachines Nepal and has previously taught at Apex College