4 Ways to Make Yourself More Hireable

Chances are that advancing your career or exploring new job opportunities made it to the top of your New Year’s resolutions. The million dollar question, of course, is how. Now is the perfect time to take a step back, evaluate your goals, and consider what you can do to make yourself stand out.  Consider one of these four tactics so that you’ll be ready next time you go out casting your net:

1. Think outside the cubicle.

Seek out special projects at work or spearhead an initiative, even if it falls outside the boundaries of your job description. If you don’t know where to start, begin with a skill set or passion you already have that can be applied to the office. Volunteer to create a Facebook or Twitter page or head an “exploratory committee” to craft a working proposal. Organize social events for coworkers in the name of team-building. Offer to spruce up outdated training materials or presentations; better yet, migrate clunky, corporate slideshows to cutting edge platforms like Prezi to really wow your boss and raise the bar. Sure, the thought of working more for free isn’t all that appealing, but think of the bigger picture: the work and time invested now will pay off later, whether in the form of a performance-based bonus, a glowing recommendation, or ultimately, of course, a new position.

2. Socialize.

Get to know someone with influence in another department, or a client with inroads elsewhere. If you’re feeling aggressive, search for a recruiter; google it, ask friends, or ask friends of friends.  The more you go out of your way, the larger your network.

3. Volunteer.

Research a cause that speaks to you; look into local organizations that offer opportunities. Employers don’t want two-dimensional employees and notice when you pursue personal interests. If you’re a fresh college grad and don’t have enough meaty work experience, lean heavily on volunteer experience to communicate your  skills. The same goes for career changers; leveraging pro bono or volunteer work communicates a level of competence even if you don’t have formal “work” experience in the field.

4. Know thyself.

None of the above really works or matters if you don’t know who you are and want you want, which can be true of entry-level workers and seasoned professionals alike. Hard-working multitaskers are a dime a dozen; what do you bring to the table that’s unique and will get you noticed? What are you passionate about? How much are you willing to say yes (or no) to for the sake of your career goals?  Advancing or reinventing yourself begins with knowing yourself. It may take some time and a step back, but you’ll soon find yourself in a better position to move forward.

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