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7 Simple Things To Do To Differentiate Yourself and Build a Standout Career

7 Simple Things To Do To Differentiate Yourself and Build a Standout Career

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:

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    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.

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    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.

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    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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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

    How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

    If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

    Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

    But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

    Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

    If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

    1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

    For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

    Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

    If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

    But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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    So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

    Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

    In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

    2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

    Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

    Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

    Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

    Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

    For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

    Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

    Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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    For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

    Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

    Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

    Bonus:

    If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

    3. Take meaningful time for yourself

    We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

    Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

    If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

    Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

    This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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    No time for me-time? Try this:

    If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

    This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

    Bonus:

    Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

    4. Get productive and feel accomplished

    Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

    When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

    While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

    Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

    No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

    So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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    Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

    This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

    Try this:

    Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

    The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

    Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

    The bottom line

    There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

    The only question is — which tip will you try first?

    Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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