In today’s workplace, managers and employees are opting for more sophisticated methods of communication. As organizations adopt newer tools like email, intranet systems and social media, it is becoming a requirement for graduates and prospective graduates to master how to use these tools productively.
Years ago in countries like Ghana, it was not common to use the internet for everyday activities. Today with globalisation and key developments in information technology, the digital divide is quickly closing up. We now have more smartphones and more computer literate people. Several universities are also swapping pens and paper with keyboards and Microsoft Word.
All these changes are leading to a modern world, where new graduates need certain skills in order to increase their chances of landing and excelling at a job.
Here are five strategies to stand out in a crowded job market;
1 Market yourself online.
Organizations are increasingly adopting digital marketing via social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, mainly because they are cheaper in comparison with older marketing channels.
Nowadays, before your interview, some employers are already checking out your Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter pages, to see what type of person you are and how well you would fit into their current organizational culture.
It is therefore important for graduates and prospective graduates to use social media platforms to develop a positive image. Such an image tells employers you are capable of using these platforms to influence their stakeholders.
2 Have an opinion.
We currently live in the society of citizen journalists, where anyone with a computer and a smart phone could easily have an opinion about an issue, and that’s perfectly fine.
Certain jobs, such as public relations and advertising, are suited for individuals who are assertive and can communicate effectively.What better way to demonstrate this than keeping a blog where you regularly post current issues of professional and personal interest?
While this shows employers your ability to create content online, it also gives them an idea of where your interests lie and how they can be used to the betterment of their organization.
3 Use your time wisely.
Knowledge is key, but employers are frequently showing that work experience carries more value in the recruitment process. It doesn’t matter your level in the University, it is very important that you start doing something that develops your skill set.
The good news is you don’t necessarily have to land an elaborate internship with a highly prestigious organization. Your internship could be helping out with admin duties at your local church or taking up a leadership position within a campus club or your neighborhood group.
That work experience, no matter how small, enhances your communication skills. It also shows prospective employers that you are not all about money. Finally, it gives you more things to talk about in your first job interview.
4 Know your competitive advantage.
Employers meet hundreds of job applicants every day, so what makes you different?
Knowing your competitive advantage and tailoring it to the job you desire gives you an edge over all the other applicants interested in the same job. Learn a new skill outside your profession, learn a new language, develop an interest in an area and become good at it.
Face to face communication still remains the richest form of communication despite the emergence of new technology and communication systems. Attend events and meet new people, you never know who you might meet at the interview.
Networking helps you to build a list of contacts that can help you get the job you need. But remember to maintain a relationship with those whom you networked with long after the networking has taken place, after all no one likes to feel like they are only called upon when help is needed.
So say hi on your new contact’s birthdays, congratulate them when their company wins an award or launches a new product, etc. Remember it’s nice to be nice.
Now you are in the best position to compete in this crowded job market. I wish you all the best, in conquering this job market.
Priscilla Aseye Nanam is a recent graduate from the University of Central Lancashire, UK. She believes organizations need to recognise the value of their PR and communications functions as they fundamentally serve as a management tool if used appropriately. She holds an MSc International Applied Communications and BA International Journalism. Her interests are internal communications, issues and crisis management, and digital communications. Contact her on LinkedIn
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