Have you wondered why some people simply seem to get the good projects, promotions and opportunities?
Hidden Job photo from Shutterstock
After working in Talent Acquisition and HR and interviewing 1000s of people, I can assure you that the landscape has changed dramatically over the last 3-5 years.
The forces that have created that change are largely due to the availability of data, systems and networks and how people use them. Agencies used to have the ultimate databases of tens of thousands of candidates that were not available to companies unless they paid a hefty placement fee. But today, platforms like Linked In make this data available to any company seeking talent.
But the question is how do you stand out so that you get the best opportunities?
Once upon a time, when you wanted to make a change in your career, the first thing would be to update your resume and start applying.
In today’s world, it is estimated that 80% of jobs filled come from the “hidden job market;” that is, the jobs that don’t get advertised. If you are still of the opinion that the best thing you can do is update your resume and start applying, I would challenge you to think differently.
The people who are getting the great opportunities are doing things differently. My top 5 differentiators are here:
They Value Relationships
Intentionally, I used the word “relationships” because people who get the best opportunities, value their networks like real relationships. People who build and leverage their networks and relationships will find the hidden job market easily.
Make networking a regular part of your managing your career and engage with people in a meaningful way. If you only network when you are looking for opportunities, you are missing the point. Invest in mutually beneficial relationships.
My #1 rule when it comes to networking is give first. Get in touch with colleagues or people in your network and give something of value. Remember what is important to them and when you see something that could be of value (an article, post, job opening etc.) send it to them. Connect with people on Linked In and always be thinking about how you can give first. If you are adding value to others first, when it comes time for someone to add value your way, it is an easy conversation. People like to give opinions, so be sure to ask them who else you should be talking to. If you are seeking opportunities, let them know. There might be someone in his or her network who could be seeking someone just like you.
They Manage Their Professional Brand
If you have not been in the job market for the last few years, this might seem like a foreign expression. Whether you like it or not, Professional Branding is here to stay, thanks to Linked In, Facebook, Twitter etc. It simply refers to managing your messages, your content, thought leadership and visuals in a way that is authentic, professional and consistent. As a first port of call, you should amp up your Linked In profile so that you stand out. It means more than just adding your current title. There is now a way for you to represent more than just words on a page by including video, presentations, white papers etc. If it is too daunting of a task, employ a career coach to help you with it.
Companies like hiring people who come through referral networks. They can avoid advertising and find someone through the ‘hidden channel.’ It is cheaper, quicker and comes with an added element of assurance because of the recommendation.
They Believe In Being The Best They Can Be
You can be a great networker and manage your professional brand well, but if you are not highly competent in your field, everyone will know it when it comes time to reference checking. Ultimately, you have to be willing to be your best and whatever you do and whatever level you are.
They Understand The Power Of Engagement
I can promise you one thing is certain – disengaged employees do not get promotions and great projects. They get sidelined.
Engagement comes from truth. People who get the best opportunities are well connected to their truth, vision, values and goals. They are well aligned. And when people are aligned with their truth, it is easy to perform well at work. Work is enjoyable. Even in the face of difficult times, they can connect with what they love doing and stay engaged with the outcome. Engaged people are good goal setters. Every hiring manager and HR manager out there are seeking people who can set stretch goals and outperform their objectives.
They Invest In Themselves
There is a fundamental difference in careers between people who believe they know everything and people who approach challenges with a sense of learning. The people who get ahead in the career stakes value learning and investing in themselves. They believe there is always something to learn or improve. Whether it is increasing their EQ, leadership development, coaching others (or having a coach) or further technical/discipline training, they continue to stretch their capacity. When we stretch our capacity and corresponding output, we continuously grow. We assure our relevance. It does not matter if it is someone who is seeking to climb the ladder into leadership or someone seeking to be the best at a particular discipline, the world continues to change and therefore, we must change and adapt as well. Finally, if you are continuously evolving in your career, you will have greater visibility and attract the hidden opportunities more easily.
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