December 21, 2012
9 ways to make yourself more marketable in 2013
Those pseudo-Mayan predictions didn’t come true, so you’ll need to prep for a new year. Why not make it one of the best so far, at least career-wise? Here are nine tips for polishing your act for 2013.
Tweet yourself into a new job. Use Twitter to send a daily tweet to share your expertise, advice and opinions related to your profession or industry, says career consultant Louise Kursmark, president of Best Impression Career Services, Inc.
“Follow others in your field, retweet their posts and add your own comments,” she says. Track job postings with TwitJobs and schedule tweets with HootSuite. “Immerse yourself in a regular flow of information related to your professional life, and you increase the odds of being in the right place, at the right time, with the right expertise,” Kursmark says.
Expand your skill set. “According to the Career Advisory Board’s Job Preparedness Indicator study, the most marketable skills now and in the near future include global competence, technology and the ability to be cross-functional,” says Alexandra Levit, author of the book “New Job, New You.”
Learn how business is conducted overseas, from etiquette to contracts, and stay aware of new technology. Gain team-management experience — volunteer or serve on a committee if management isn’t part of your current job, Levit says.
“There are all kinds of new do-it-yourself training options out there, ranging from books, blogs and self-study materials to distance learning and open-source education programs from places like MIT,” he says. Tools such as Indeed Trends (indeed.com/jobtrends) let you know which skills are in demand.
Drop your name. “If you are unemployed, create a simple and professional business card that has your name, field of interest, phone number and email address,” says Arden Clise, business etiquette consultant at Seattle-based Clise Etiquette. “A business card helps to legitimize you, and lets you avoid that awkward situation of receiving a business card and not having anything to give in return.”
Inexpensive (and sometimes free) cards are found at sites such as vistaprint.com. Bonus: Now you can enter those business-card drawings.
Stop slinging slang. It doesn’t matter that it’s almost 2013; trendy words in conversation can make an interviewee sound young and unprofessional. Even an offhand term like “you guys” can be problematic. Clise suggests “you two” or “all of you.” Replace “no worries” or “no problem” with “you’re welcome” or “my pleasure.” Her advice, like, totally rings true.
Keep up appearances. Update your LinkedIn profile at least once a week, Clise suggests. “This keeps you visible to your connections when the weekly LinkedIn connection activity email goes out,” she says. “Your post could be an interesting business article link or information about your recent volunteer project, class or seminar.”
A networking don’t: Posting family photos, your heroic bout with a stomach virus or anything similarly unprofessional.
Aggregate your info. Relatively new “nameplate” sites make it easier for recruiters and HR reps to one-stop-stalk your online life. Design a nameplate page that groups your online profiles, whether on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn; use it to tell a cohesive story that links your experience. Vizify creates an infographic, while about.me offers a more narrative format. Other players include Flavors.me and re.vu.
Smile for the profile. Is your social-media profile photo suitable for your profession? Do you even have one? “Your LinkedIn profile is 40 percent more likely to be clicked on if you have a photo,” says Amanda Augustine, a job-search expert for TheLadders, a job-matching service.
“This image needs to be professional, friendly and in alignment with your personal brand,” she says. Get a great haircut (hair academies offer free or discounted cuts, Augustine says) and look your best.
Mobilize your resume. If a recruiter requests your resume, be equipped to respond immediately, Augustine says. “Invest in a smartphone or tablet where you can store a copy of your online resume, so you can forward it at a moment’s notice,” she suggests. If a new device is too expensive, buy an older iPhone or Android phone on eBay or carry a USB flash drive with your resume on board.
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