Elizabeth Varrenti currently serves as the Vice President of Professional Development at MATRIX. Since starting with MATRIX in Atlanta in 1998, Elizabeth has fulfilled numerous roles including: Account Executive, Recruiter, Sales and Recruiting Team Lead, Director of National Recruiting and Vice President of National Accounts Delivery. A graduate of SUNY Geneseo, Elizabeth resides in Rochester, NY.
6 Ways To Position Yourself For A Better Job And Better Pay
Whether or not you’re actively looking at other job opportunities, there is one thing almost everyone is open to: a better job and more money. Setting yourself up for this kind of success isn’t as complicated as you might think. I’ve worked with a lot of people to help them advance in their careers, and these are the top big and small ways I’ve come up with to increase your marketability.
Complete your LinkedIn Profile
When I am advising even seasoned job seekers, the first thing we do is open up their LinkedIn profiles together. Nine times out of ten there is very little there – a company name, a corporate overview taken from a web site and very few connections. This profile says “Yep, I tried that LinkedIn thing about five years ago and sort of forgot about it”. I am here to tell you under no uncertain terms, LinkedIn is the gold standard in social media for job seekers today and where potential employers are looking for you.
LinkedIn is not only an opportunity to showcase your expertise and experience, it also allows you to highlight other areas that add to your marketability: volunteer work, organizations you are affiliated with, alumni groups, publications and yes, even personal interests. I teach a whole session on how to use this platform to market yourself but the first step is to make it current and complete.
Volunteer in your community or at work
In most industries, there are many opportunities to volunteer both within your company and outside in your community. Volunteering in your community shows a potential employer you are engaged in your area of expertise and that you are committed to giving back. Volunteering inside your company also gives you access to work that can add to your marketability. Freely offering time depicts a humble, generous worker; qualities any manager would want to promote.
Have a Professional look at your resume
It may have been a while since you looked for a job or even wrote a resume. Things change fast in certain industries, especially IT, and some of the terminology on your resume could be woefully out of date and even potentially cost you a job if it makes you look like you are not current in your industry. Pay a professional to help you. (Or, if you are lucky enough to know an excellent recruiter, they can work with you on it. If not, we know some!)
Finish your degree or Get certified
It is well-documented that individuals with four-year degrees or higher earn more money throughout the course of their career and are exposed to more job opportunities as a result. I have routinely worked with candidates who are only two-or three classes shy of their degree and strongly counsel them to go back and finish as soon as they can. They have already invested so much time and money in this pursuit that it is a waste not to finish.
If your degree is already complete, it’s time to get certified. Do you ever notice those letters that follow someone’s name on LinkedIn? Admit it, it looks important right? Because it is! In 18 years of recruiting in IT, I can tell you with all certainty that those candidates with a PMP, CSIE, MSCD (we have placed hundreds) all get premium pay because of these three or four letters after their name.
Never underestimate the value of excellent written communication
One of the single most valuable business skills you obtain in college, regardless of your degree, is the ability to think analytically and articulate your thoughts in a clear and concise manner in writing. In order to produce reports, craft clear and meaningful business communications, or even an email, you must be able to write well – in any job. Attention to proper grammar and use of the full version of a word versus the texting version of it are just small things you can do to impress your current or potential employer. I recently got an email from a company trying to sell me training content and the email started out “r u happy with your current LMS?” Really?? Check out my friend Hannah Morgan’s advice on this important differentiator.
Be interesting, Be yourself
People do not want to hire robots. They want to hire smart, interesting people who are confident and can get along well with others. Don’t be afraid to share aspects of your personal life that demonstrate who you are outside of work. Are you a diehard NY Jets fan who is training for a marathon and also writing a book? That is interesting and cool (except the Jets part) and it makes you human and REAL. Tell people about it!
Don’t be afraid to RESPECTFULLY speak up, be authentic, take a risk and put yourself out there. It can be a little scary but can pay big dividends in the respect you will earn from your coworkers and leadership for being genuine and relatable and open the door to additional opportunities.
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