The All-New Employability
Rapid market changes and disruptive technologies are rapidly transforming the world of work, creating great new opportunities for those with higher levels of employability, but leaving behind those who aren’t actively driving their careers and their personal brands.
Today’s job market is in flux. It’s operating under a new paradigm that portends frequent layoffs and restructuring. Whether we like it or not, the majority of us won’t be part of a company’s staffing plans for the long term.
Studies show that the generation of people beginning their careers today will change jobs at least seven times before retiring, and four of these moves will be involuntary. Since no one is exempt from job transitions, we should take steps to prepare for them.
Career transition expert Ines Temple advises constantly assessing our level of employability by asking ourselves, “What skills do I need to develop to find a job if I need one? What added value must I contribute in order to keep my job?”
She recommends these ways to improve your employability:
1 – Understand the marketplace.
Measure your employability by studying the job market, even when you’re not looking for a job. Stay up on any national and international industry news, as well as articles in trade magazines that involve your profession. This gives you insight into the extent to which the market values your position.
2 – Keep skills up to date.
You’ll be more employable if you work on the skills valued by the market. Update your skills frequently through courses or seminars and, in particular, keep up with advances in technology related to your position.
3 – Identify accomplishments.
In tabulating achievements, many people make the mistake of describing what they did and the responsibilities they had, rather than their contribution to the results. Keep a list of your achievements with quantitative proof of the value you’ve added. A good way to do this is through the PAR method — Problem, Action, and Result — identifying the problem or opportunity that existed, explaining the action taken, and noting the results generated from the action.
4 – Establish your personal brand.
Be proactive in building your image and personal brand, including within social networks. Think in terms of personal marketing when fine-tuning your digital identity. Today more than ever before, people find information about others online. Remember: your personal brand and reputation follow you 24/7.
5 – Work your network.
Ensure your network knows what you’re up to and whether you’re available. The majority of today’s jobs are found through one’s own networks.
6 – Build soft skills.
Attributes that may seem less tangible can make the difference in who gets — and keeps — a job. This includes values, attitude, passion, and adaptability. Communication skills also fall prominently into this category. While soft skills aren’t quantifiable on a résumé, your network will relay them.
To improve employability, we need to persistently sharpen our work skills and social intelligence skills, while ensuring that others know we’re there and available.