Life is competitive, and it’s hard to find a good job. Many young people approach me for career counseling, and these are the 4 simple things I tell them to do, so they can stand out.
- Create your own website . Many of them look confused. Why should I have my own website? I am not a techie ! And I already have a LinkedIn profile ! Isn’t that enough ? Please remember that your website is the most important personal digital branding tool you can create. Your website is your property, and LinkedIn will come and go – but you own your website, so you are always future-ready ! The good news it’s very easy to do this, using no-code and low-code platforms, so please don’t underestimate your ability to become a webmaster ! This will be the first thing which will show up whenever anyone Googles you – and everyone Googles you , including prospective employers and father-in-laws ! Once you generate content for your website , you can repackage this and use it automatically for many other social media platforms as well – create once, reuse many times ! Your site is digital proof of work ! It allows you to position yourself as a thought leader , and let’s the world know what your capabilities are ! So rather than tell people – I want to become a climate-tech entrepreneur , by actually sharing knowledge of this topic on your website, anyone can see that this is an area in which you have a deep interest , and have developed enough expertise , so that you are likely to be well qualified for that particular job. A website is something which will grow along with you and will help you grow as well , because you’ll become much more proactive about researching, reading and creating content for your site, because it needs fresh , topical , original content all the time. Plus, being your own webmaster will allow you to use all the digital AI tools which are available today, and these are helpful skills for any employer you wish to join. Running a website will force to be tech-savvy and uptodate, so that when you start using generative AI tools to increase your website outreach, this will increase your professional productivity as well, because you are learning real-life transferable skills . This combination will help you outshine all the other applicants for any job you want , and will encourage recruiters and hiring managers to reach out to you !
- Invest in a coach. The good news is there are many career coaches who can provide you with professional guidance. The bad news is that it’s not easy to find the right career coach for yourself because some are good, but some are terrible. Most career coaches will offer a counselling session free of charge , so please start exploring this option. You can check out their websites ; look at their LinkedIn profile ; or talk to friends who have uses their services. You may need to experiment with two or three before you find one who is right for you – paying attention to the chemistry between your coach and you is the secret to finding the one who is right for you . A coach will not tell you what to do, but a coach will help guide you, so you are on track. More importantly, a coach will hold you accountable and answerable, and many of us require this kind of nudging in order to reach our goals.
- Find mentors. Mentorship is a very abused , overused and misused word , and you cannot actually look for mentors – they need to find you. The good news is you can have multiple mentors , and they come in all shapes and sizes. They can be seniors, who will share the Big Picture with you . And they can be juniors , who can teach you tactics. You need to find people whom you know you can trust – who have your back , and will give you good advice , based on their experience. Mentors will not tell you what to do, but they will often share their own stories , so that you can draw your own conclusions and decide what’s right for yourself. Having multiple mentors helps , because you will then have multiple perspectives. Often the best mentor is someone who is just three or four years senior to you – someone who’s doing what you would like to be doing three or four years from now , because they will be able to talk a language which you understand , and have already walked the path which you want to walk down.
- Reading books is invaluable, and one of my favorite books is What Color is Your Parachute? You need a focused, targeted approach whenever you’re looking for a job. The biggest mistake everyone makes is use a spray and pray approach, and this lack of focus means they do what everyone else is doing – which is why they get the same mediocre results ! Then they behave as victims, and complain that there aren’t any good jobs available , or that employers don’t return their calls. But the reality is they’re doing a terrible job at job-hunting ! Please don’t wait to graduate before for looking for a job – the right time to dig your well is before you’re thirsty – which is they the right time is always now !
Finally, instead of trying to rework your resume so that you can force-fit it into the job description which the recruiter advertises , craft a dream job for yourself, which plays to your strengths, and then identify an employer who will be willing to pay for your skills ! This takes longer, but is much more satisfying in the long run !