10 ways to become a more employable candidate – Now and in Future

    Nothing can be more depressing for new job seekers than working on your resume, sending countless applications, and remaining in the category of the unemployed for more than a year. Six months in and no feedback from employers, let alone a call for interview.Business owners are not looking to reduce the rate of unemployment. They are looking to grow their business. To work with people who will share in their vision and help move the company forward. Put yourself in the position of a business owner, you’ll want the same.

    It then boils down to the same question, “How much value can you offer?” This is where the problems of most fresh graduates begin. It hasn’t been easy for the professional with job experience to get a better job. It certainly would be worse for fresh school leaver without so much as holiday job experience.

    If you are in this position, you may not be able to change the way things work, but you can make yourself a better job candidate fit for your desired employment. Here are a few ways to become more employable in the face of stark unemployment.

    Develop Computer-based skills

    become employable
    Image Credit: employabilityfirst.com

    IT skills are now more important than ever in the job market. Virtually every establishment of any sort needs at least basic technology to make work smoother. Microsoft office, graphic design, web development and management, programming, search engine optimization, social media management, Digital Marketing.

    Learning how to use a new piece of software is never a waste of time. This may sound cliché but a large number of job seekers out there have little to no basic computer and Information Technology skills.

    Combining your current qualification with some IT skills will make you even more qualified for a vast number of jobs.

    Come out of school with good grades

    Imagine you are in a concert filled with hundreds of people but without the music and without the normal glee and thrill of every turn up. That’s a picture of a hall filled with jobseekers.

    While high grades aren’t everything, many organisations still ask for a 2.1 degree as a minimum. Now imagine the 2.2 student struggling alongside the 2.1 and first class students  for the same job position.

    There are few other good jobs around without this criteria. Theses jobs place skill over academic qualification but appointment is usually based on referrals.

    So if you, reading this, are still in school, do not give ear to people who say grades do not matter. They do matter especially if you have nothing else going for you; if you have no guts, no wits, nothing. In order to have the confidence to apply for certain job positions, you do need good grades. In order to compete with a teeming population of unemployed graduates on the streets, you need good grades. Additional touchups like job skills can be learned and adopted in a year or less.

    Take Online Courses

    Online courses are hot these days. People have been able to alter the course of their career by making use of free and paid learning materials readily available online to improve their knowledge. That you studied mechanical engineering in school does not confine you to work in engineering firms. Even if you must, you may not have the luxury to practice your profession. There are torrents of quality resources online to self-educate and be a well rounded individual.

    Your online self-education may not come with a traditional qualification. But at you get to know more than you were taught in school. Here is a list of websites to learn Courses Online free.

    Take that low-paying job

    It’s easy to feel overqualified for certain positions. A great job is what every job seeker wants. Unfortunately, only few will get lucky. Many eyes are focused on that high paying job that it becomes almost impossible for a candidate without experience or contacts to get through.

    Rather than focus all attention in getting that dream job, a better option is to start with experience rewarding jobs. It may not look like “the job” actually, considering the absence of “deserved” reward. Rather than spend years waiting for that perfect job, and becoming even less qualified as years roll by, you’ll be developing skills and experiences that can make way for a better job.

    Go for entrepreneurship program(s)

    Job seekers often get scared at the mention of entrepreneurship when as a result of the times, they should be thinking of developing real deep entrepreneurial skills. For every available job position out there, there are a hundred more people ready to fill the space. More jobs need to be created. You don’t have to be the born-entrepreneur. Use the adaptive spirit you inherited from student-hood to adapt to your current situation, even if you don’t feel you have what it takes.

    There are entrepreneurship training programmes that can help you understand the basics of starting and running a business in your area. If you are in Nigeria, Entrepreneurship development Center – EDC by African Leadership Forum – ALF is a business development training center for students and graduates to start off with. The program is subsidized by the Central bank of Nigeria, which makes it cheaply affordable.

    There are lots of valuable business programs online if you can’t find a good one locally. Entrepreneurial skills will make you a better job candidate eventually.

    Start a personal blog

    Writing a blog has gone beyond personal online diaries. Blogs have become a powerful business and self marketing tool. Start a blog to show how much you know or want to know in your field of interest. It doesn’t have to be based on your academic qualification. It could be about anything that interests you. Then you’ll have all the space you need to self-promote and escalate your skills to include writing, Publicity,  new media management and whatever skill in the area of interest that you blog about.

    Master new media

    Next to starting a personal blog  is mastering new media. Communication and networking skills are now taken to mean ‘fluent in social media language’. Also, with the presence of many companies on new media platforms, it is only right that You keep up with the trend in changing networking methods. And if companies are online, then they may be checking you out. If they are checking you out, why not use social media to enhance your qualifications.

    New media allows the right people, with the right skills at the right price, to be employed, regardless of where they live.

    Use Twitter and Facebook responsibly, enrich the content of your LinkedIn page. Contribute sensibly to trending social issues, show your personality, solicit jobs online, find people with like minds, talk to people. The prospects of digital media are unlimited, tap into it.

    Meet People

    In order to get to the top, you have to climb the shoulders of others. So, it will help you to know that most of the time, it’s not what you know but who you know. You know who you know not by sitting in a place hoping people come to meet you. To meet more people, there are a number of activities you can be involved in if you just look around your environment. If you are prepared to meet people, you will increase the number of jobs that you can apply for.

    Meeting people will require one to be co-operative, tolerant, contribute sensibly to a conversation, share ideas, be confident, give positive feedback.

    Shadow/Volunteer/Intern

    Your grades will get your foot in the door while your experience will keep you in any activity. Companies and scholarships like to bring on people who have given their time for free because it portrays real character and your interest in making a difference. So while you are waiting for that job to eventually come, you can improve on your skills by taking up a no-paying job. In the long run, you will not only remember the ‘suffer-days’ as the good ol’, you will also be the better for it for two reasons:

    a) Working diligently for free will earn you recommendations from bosses or colleagues that may reward you with the actual opportunity that you seek

    b) You will develop new skills and a wider understanding of what works and what doesn’t

    To know what type of skill you need to nurture, it’s better to get involved in leading a project work, work alongside the leader of a project work, captain a sport team, chair a student committee, work in a Non-Governmental Organisation, accept a no-pay job (a fulfilling one).

    Some of the important traits that you would need to focus are delegation of functions, encouraging staff to work towards common goals, giving timely and honest feedback, being fair in your dealings, being self-confident, having trust on staff, speak in positive tone, and possess the necessary skills and knowledge.

    Be confident

    Last and most important of these points is to attach confidence as one of your character traits. Many employable graduates do not get their dream jobs because of a lack of this trait.

    If you get through to the later stages of interviews and assessment centres, it is because you have earned the right to be there. The company has seen potential in you and wants to know more. If you are not offered the job, move on to the next prospect. Always put your best foot forward in everything!

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