BEING COMPETITIVE IN THE JOB MARKET
So you have the job but how then do you keep the job and remain relevant should there be any unplanned changes? Looking over your shoulder watching for who is in wait for your position might not be a great option of safe guarding your job. After some research, experts recommend the following to keep you competitive in the job market:
- Continue Learning: so you have bagged yourself that degree, masters, MBA or even PhD, and you thought that ends the learning, well think again. It is recommended to maintain a lifelong habit of education. This does not mean going back to the four walls of a classroom but also engaging in self study. There is a wide range of course available on the internet to help widen the knowledge of employees. Kochan says that it is “the ability to upgrade and keep one’s skills current over the full career cycle that is so important today. Technologies are changing and people have to move across jobs more frequently, so they have to make sure their skills transfer across jobs.”
Pick a book, dictionary, magazine and study or go the extra mile by registering for a course or engaging in a topic research to broaden your knowledge. Though the benefit might not be seen immediately but it would improve if not only your vocabulary but also knowledge on chosen area and put you ahead of your peers.
Most workers these days can’t count on their employers to provide that kind of training. Employers don’t have “an incentive to train people to be competitive in the external labour market,” he said. “We’ve got to expand those opportunities so we make sure that all segments of our labour force have access to continuing learning and education.”
- Professional development: still on the topic of learning but this time dealing on professional development. It’s incredibly important to continuously learn about your profession and what makes someone good at it. Learning behaviours as well as skills necessary to your particular profession: communicate effectively, working in teams, writing proposal, how to solve problems, how to communicate, how to develop leadership and negotiation skillsThere are always new technologies, strategies and work methods emerging in any given field. Professional development can be done in the form of workshops, courses, training programs or online webinars, for examples – will help you to stay on top of best practices and give you a chance to learn from the pros.
- Network, Network, Network: find professional networks and become a member of a professional body. This helps in job prospects, learning from peers in same field and recognised individuals in your chosen field. Even within your organisation, look for a mentor to help guide you or even volunteer to your boss the need and your keenness to develop and learn more.
- Ready? Ask and Take the Risk: So you’ve done your homework, have discovered the new skills and developed yourself, why not take the risk by putting yourself out there for your boss to appreciate. Engage in new projects/ tasks and ask questions on the availability of opportunities that might be present around you.
You can also become more efficient by engaging in self assessment:”What did I do today? Did I analyze any data, did I research anything? Did I create a project?” It is suggested to questions to ask. “Did I teach it to anybody else? Did I go into a situation that I wasn’t comfortable with and ask good questions?”
- Be ever ready for Change: everyone knows change is ever constant. Changes in labour market, ways of operation, skills needed, standard of education and even change in individual needs will always come up. It is therefore advisable that employees are open to changes that might come and adapt with growing trends to meet the demands of these changes.
- Learn a new language: if English is not your mother tongue, it is necessary to learn English – the ability to speak and write fluently. If you already have this mastered, then you are one step ahead. There is a growing trend though for the need to learn a foreign language: French, Spanish, Dutch, and Mandarin or even another of a national tongue – Hausa, Yoruba or Igbo. This is becoming a considerably important skill that can differentiate you from other job seekers.