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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 March 29, 2021

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

    What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

    The Dream Type Of Manager

    My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

    I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

    My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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    “Okay…”

    That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

    I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

    The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

    The Bully

    My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

    However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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    The Invisible Boss

    This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

    It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

    The Micro Manager

    The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

    Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

    The Over Promoted Boss

    The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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    You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

    The Credit Stealer

    The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

    Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

    3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

    Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

    1. Keep evidence

    Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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    Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

    Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

    2. Hold regular meetings

    Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

    3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

    Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

    However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

    Good luck!

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