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Can we all let out a collective *sigh* while thinking about the job market? Sure, it’s better than it was in 09′, but it’s still cutthroat. It’s no wonder so many people have turned to freelancing and went down the path of entrepreneurship. It’s a rough road in the corporate world. It’s even rougher if you don’t have a skill set.
Ah… Notice I said skill set and not an education. My husband and I are learning fast that without actual skills – it can be very tough to find a job that pays more than $9/hour. Let me elaborate a bit.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and when I graduated, my only skill was technical writing. I had very little professional experience as a technical writer, but alas, writing comes fairly easy to me. My first (and current) job is in content marketing. Since working in this area (for nearly a year and a half), I have gained HTML, SEO, PR, and CMS skills. If I needed to get another job, I would have a much better chance now than I did when I first started out (though the pay for these jobs is still sub-par).
Now let’s look at my husband. Mike is a people-person and Veteran, yet he has no higher education and no marketable skill set. He is struggling in his search for a well-paying job because he simply has no skills. His job in the National Guard taught him data entry and human resources, but no one takes him seriously because he doesn’t have a degree to back it up. Good sales positions won’t look at him because they can hire people with degrees for what they would pay him. Factory jobs don’t want him because he doesn’t have proof of mechanical skills. And obviously, everywhere else won’t hire him because he doesn’t have a degree. Even though he is a capable, reliable, kind person with a good work ethic, he is repeatedly passed over for better jobs.
Thankfully, Mike was finally picked up for a better job because he is a veteran and wooed his hiring manage with his epic people skills and love for all sports. Unfortunately, not all places take so kindly to those who have fought for our country, but that’s a story for another day.
So what do you need to get a good job in today’s world, with or without a degree? I’ve highlighted a few things below.
1. A Smashing Resume
This goes without saying, but you’d be surprised how few people have an actual resume highlighting their skills and experience. A solid resume is a must-have if you’re going to separate yourself from the crowd, especially in higher-paying fields. Make one today. Have a friend look over it. Polish it. Make it one page. Still need help?
Check out these resources:
2. A Valued, Marketable Skill Set
What can you do? In 2015, some of the most valued skill sets are in healthcare, IT, and business relations. Can you do bookkeeping or write code? Are you certified in CPR? Do you have training in electrical repair or automobile mechanics? Do you know how to design with Adobe Creative Suite? These are marketable skill sets. If you don’t have one, take a class or two. You’d be amazed how much you can learn in one semester of accounting or design classes. Invest in yourself and you’ll have much less trouble finding a job.
3. A Great Business Outfit
To own an interview, you need to look great, even if the job is casual or uniform wear. If you want people to take you seriously, you need to dress like you’re serious. Take a moment to buy a suit that can cross all seasons. It will be one of the best investments you make for yourself and your career.
4. A Desire to Learn and Humility
You must be confident, but don’t act like you know everything. Play up your desire to learn and and be successful. Let the hiring manager know what you’re good at, but be honest and humble. Being humble doesn’t mean downplaying your skills; it means showing your success while acknowledging that there’s always room for improvement.
5. The Ability to Sell Yourself in an Interview | a.k.a. People Skills
No matter what your skills or education, if you can’t sell yourself in the interview, you’re not going to get the job. Be yourself – unless yourself is boring and scared to death. Act poised and confident. Be prepared to answer tough questions. Imagine if you were hiring someone. How would you want them to act? I have seen people passed over jobs simply because they suck at interviews. I am one of those people. Calm your nerves, and take what’s on the line out of the equation. Be chill, talk like you would with a friend or acquaintance, and move on.
Do you have any other tips on how you can get a job in today’s economy? I’d love to hear them!