According to the International Labor Organization, the global jobs gap is likely to rise to 75 million by 2018 unless there is a significant surge in employment market growth. This is despite reported labor market growth in the U.S. and UK, however, as developed economies continue to struggle with social, political and financial upheaval.

While this is a negative development, it is worth noting that even a prosperous job market creates unique challenges for job-seekers and individuals who are looking to progress their careers. More specifically, it creates a more crowded and competitive employment market, as a growing number of people resume their search for work and apply for a disproportionate ratio of jobs.

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How to Stand Out From the Crowd in the Contemporary Job Market

With this in mind, what simple steps can you take to distinguish yourself from the crowd while establishing a progressive career? Consider the following:

1. Open your Mind to New Career Opportunities

Technological advancement has changed the nature of the modern workplace, while also sounding the death knell for traditional industries such as print media and analogue television. Anyone who is experienced in these industries must therefore develop an open mind if they are to progress, as they consider new opportunities in similar but more progressive market sectors. Why this may force you to acquire some new skills and qualifications, it will enable you to evolve your career and drive it forward from austerity.

2. Try New Things and Embrace the Unknown

While embracing new career opportunities in related and progressive industries will stand you in good stead, you should take this philosophy further and look to sample a series of new skills and experiences as you consider your future. This will encourage you think outside of your existing capabilities, as your future employment may lie in an industry that has little or no connection to your previous experience of the workplace. By showcasing a willingness to learn brand new skills and try different things, you can take your career in a direction that you never thought was possible.

3. Be Proactive Not Reactive in the Marketplace

Whether looking to develop an existing career or start a new one from scratch, you cannot hope to progress unless you adopt a proactive approach to networking, sourcing opportunities and making applications. Those with a reactive mind-set are ill-equipped to thrive in a competitive market, as they will lose ground to their rivals and fail to stand-out as keen or motivated candidates for work. So even if it goes against your nature, consider being tenacious in your approach and changing your behavior with regards to pursuing opportunities.

4. Showcase your Key Personal Attributes

When applying for a new job, it is likely that you and your rival candidates will share many of the same skills and academic qualifications. In this instance, it is often your experience and personal attributes that will distinguish you from the crowd, so you must present these clearly and confidently to potential employers. In essence, these are your unique selling points as an individual candidate, and your ability to market them effectively will determine whether or not you can secure long-term security and the standout career of your dreams.

5. Strive to Cultivate Strong Working Relationships

By sharing your most positive personal attributes in a professional context, you are also laying the foundations for strong working relationships with your employers. The same principle applies when networking with recruiters and industry contacts, despite the prominence of social media and remote communication it is important to remember that the employment market remains an interpersonal environment that is driven by face-to-face interaction. So by presenting your qualities and communicating openly, you can cultivate strong professional relationships that help you to maximize your career.

6. Remember the Value of Hard Work

In an age of digital communication, e-recruitment and online working processes, it is easy to believe that technology is the key player in the contemporary employment market. While it is undoubtedly influential, however, it is important not to underestimate the value of hard work and how this impacts positively on your chances of achieving multiple career goals. Simply by showcasing a willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty and work outside of your contracted hours where necessary, you can distinguish yourself in the eyes of employers and elevate your career to a higher level.

7. Remain Focused on Clearly Defined Career Goals

Historically, individuals always could rely on long-term employment opportunities once they had left education and ventured out into the world of work. This is no longer the case, however, which means that today’s generation of workers must be adaptable and willing to change positions if they are to achieve their career goals. While your job title, location and level of remuneration may be changeable, however, it is important to retain clearly-defined, long-term career goals that enable you to focus as you look to progress. This will help you to cope with your constantly changing circumstances and the necessary periods of transition.

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