Whether you've just graduated from college, you're in the middle of your career, or you're in your 60s, competition for jobs is fierce. So, how can you stay relevant in today's job market? Here are six ways to stay on top of your game.
1. Brand Up
If you want to market yourself effectively, you need to clearly understand how and where you add value. What skill sets and strengths do you have? What's the problem you solve? How do you solve it? Get very clear on what you have to offer and then start building your brand.
Once you understand how and where you add value, you need to build your brand—a marketing strategy for your business-of-one. Start building up your online presence, establish yourself as an expert in your field, and get your name out there. If people can't find you easily, it will be hard to stand out in a sea of talent.
2. Learn New Technology
This is one of the most important things you can do to stay relevant in today's job market. We live in a very tech-savvy world, and if you can't keep up, you risk falling behind the competition. Think about what technologies are used in your industry and take steps to familiarize yourself with them and learn how they work.
3. Look At Industry Trends
What's happening in your industry? What needs aren't being fulfilled? Look at industry news and developments so you can get a clear idea of what areas will need talent. Then, set yourself up to fill those needs using your skill sets.
4. Grow Your Network
If you don't get yourself out there, no one will be able to recognize your value. Join professional groups, attend industry-related events, meet people working in your dream companies, find a mentor, and so on. Grow your network early and establish those relationships. They will help you if you need to find something new down the road.
5. Take Classes, Courses, And Workshops
The secret to staying relevant? Upskilling. You must constantly gain new, relevant skills in order to stay ahead of the curb. Look for weak areas in your skill sets and find ways to get educated or experienced. You can take classes online or on campus, attend workshops, volunteer, or even take on part-time jobs.
6. Think About Your Next Step
Even if you're in a job you absolutely adore right now and have been there for years, you always want to be prepared. Things can change with the flip of the switch and you might be out of a job tomorrow. So, think about your next step. Even if you don't plan on leaving your current job right now, the earlier you get started, the easier it will be to get your foot in the door at another company if/when it comes time.
The key to staying relevant in an ever-changing job market (and in a recession!) is to always look for ways to improve your skills. Learn to embrace new experiences as opportunities to grow, both personally and professionally. By doing the above six things, you'll stay relevant in any industry, no matter how competitive.
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