Everybody wants to be seen as a professional in their field, whether you are seeking to advance within your current organization or you’re looking for a new position or career. To achieve this, you first need to assess your marketability; and your value to a particular role or industry as determined by your strengths, capabilities, experience, and transferable skills. By understanding your marketability, you place yourself in a much stronger position to achieve your goals.
Address Your Soft Skills
Perhaps you have heard the term ‘soft skills’ but are not quite sure what these are. Soft skills are competencies that are difficult to quantify because of their subjectivity. These include things like communication, teamwork, and leadership abilities. Soft skills are a pivotal part of every organization and the more highly you are regarded in this area, the more valuable you are to current and future employers. When interviewing for a new position, improve your marketability by preparing an anecdote or example that showcases how you have utilized these skills in the past and provided successful outcomes.
Expand Or Polish Your Credentials
Nothing demonstrates professional marketability like expanding your horizons through further education. Undertaking an online MBA program, for example, provides you with the tools and training needed to lead more effectively, improve your decision-making abilities, and hone your existing skill set. Additionally, higher education programs are excellent places to network and collaborate with other like-minded people from various industries and backgrounds. Not only will this help with the development of your soft skills, but may just lead you to your next role!
Gain Management Experience
This may seem like a task that is easier said than done, but the good news is, you don’t need to be in a management position to gain management experience. One of the best ways to enhance your management abilities is to focus on your leadership skills. All good managers should possess leadership skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and coaching. Anyone can build and develop these skills at any point in their career. A few examples of this may be to become a ‘resident expert’, that is, to build your knowledge around a particular aspect of your role so that other team members may look to you for guidance. Volunteering to take on additional projects demonstrates enthusiasm and an aptitude for careful time management while offering to facilitate team meetings or training is a way to exhibit organizational skills.
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Volunteering is an excellent way to gain experience that extends beyond the workplace or realm of your day-to-day role. Offering your services is an opportunity to showcase your skill set to others in an industry or organization, while also learning new skills and concepts that can further your career. If there are limited volunteer opportunities inside the workplace, you can still volunteer your time and energy outside. Donating a few hours a week, or a month, to give back to your community or a cause-based organization is a wonderful thing, regardless of what you gain from it. That said, employers value philanthropy as it demonstrates an awareness and sensitivity to wider issues, a willingness to contribute and give back, and an ability to build connections and gain valuable skills.
Update Your Resume
Most people wait until they have decided to look for a new job before they consider updating their resume, but in reality, this should be something you are doing constantly. The benefit of consistently adding achievements and new skills to your resume avoids running the risk of losing or forgetting key information that may be useful for any future employment. It also saves you the time and hassle of completing this task in one go, which can be daunting and deterring for many.
The idea of networking often evokes images of schmoozing in a room full of people while trying desperately to put your best foot forward, and for many people, this concept just isn’t appealing. However, the good news is, these days you don’t necessarily have to. While there will always be the option for those who thrive in a vast, social setting, those who don’t can still effectively network in different ways. A professional networking site, LinkedIn, allows you to showcase your personal brand and connect with like-minded individuals. Additionally, there are many digital channels and virtual events (often for free) that offer the same benefits as in-person networking but are not limited to geographic location and don’t come with the same time and cost commitment.
As a working professional, it can be challenging to remain consistently on top of your marketability, but taking the time to practice any of the aforementioned steps will undoubtedly give you a valuable leg up.