According to Business Insider, the current job market isn’t pretty. With the competitive landscape, pay decreases on the rise, and full-time work more challenging to find, it’s easier than ever to fall behind the curve when looking for employment or moving up in your current position.
If you’re looking to take your career to the next level, here are five ways to stay ahead of the competition.
Learn a new skill
When thinking of new career-changing skills to pick up, the most obvious (and relevant) are skills in tech. The White House estimates that by 2020, there will be 1,000,000 more computing jobs than applicants with the skills to fill them. To fill this gap, bootcamp-style schools that teach these skills are popping up across the country. Here in Salt Lake City, The New York Code + Design Academy has taken the lead with a humanized approach to technical education and an innovative financing model. How?
Simple. The curriculum is informed by tech companies and talent recruiters, and combines software engineering, workplace simulation techniques, and individualized coaching focused on developing the soft skills needed to excel in any career (or just life in general). NYCDA has also introduced a student-first tuition option called an Income Share Agreement where students don’t need to make payments until they’re getting paid. This new-school way of learning gives a solution to the rising cost of college and is changing the ROI for graduates.
Matt Smith, the CEO of NYCDA, says “living in the Valley for the past 10 years, I have seen Salt Lake City grow at a rapid speed; there are so many great companies here, and even more on the way. We need far more people with these skills in order to keep up with the tremendous growth and innovation, and we're happy to be helping students and companies advance through the power of education.”
Utah is the No. 1 ranked state in terms of job growth, and according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, software developers and web developers are number No. 1 and No. 3 respectively in the rankings of fastest growing professions.
Know your worth
Knowing your worth can often feel more esoteric than concrete, but both your hard and soft skills are valuable and have specific numbers attached. Knowing their monetary worth will help when it comes to figuring out if you’re being paid fairly, while job hunting, or interviewing and negotiating your salary. Glassdoor is a tool that gives you a free personalized salary estimate based on today’s job market so you can objectively assess the value you bring to the table to a current or future employer.
To stay competitive in the job market, whether you’re currently employed or looking, being proactive is key. It’s easy to think that knowing how to react in stressful situations is enough, but being a proactive problem-solver will keep you ahead.
Proactively searching for a position versus waiting for companies to post available positions online will also put you in front of the curve. Instead of waiting for a job to be posted on the company website, try going to networking events, cold-calling, or using your current network to gauge opportunities. By doing this you’re not only staying on top of the competition, you also limit your competition by knowing of available positions before they’re ever posted publicly.
Don’t disregard your attitude
A competitive market means constantly staying open to adopting new skills and habits. Research conducted by NoGRE.com found that the top traits sought after by employers are social skills and how you work with a team. By staying flexible, adapting to change, and continuously learning, you rise out of the competition.
Focus on building relationships
No matter what industry you're in, relationships are key to moving up. Whether you stay in your job for 10 more years, switch to a completely unrelated field, or are just looking to move up in your current position, how you maintain the relationships you forge along the way will matter when you’re looking to uplevel your career. Starting to build connections now by focusing on what you can give before what you can receive will be helpful when the day comes to make an ask.