student

2015-02-06

Stand out from the crowd – Strategies to help you achieve your goal!

Peter Cederqvist is founder and CEO of the company New Start Nordic. He is an experienced lecturer and trainer within coaching and leadership. The company specialises in issues relating to career, working life and talent management, along with coaching, career development, leadership and change management.

It is important to have an understanding of new career trends. Working life is very different these days to how it used to be. It is your job to identify success factors in order to further your career. Marketing yourself is a huge challenge. You need to build a personal brand, develop your network and understand that new opportunities will come via two channels – the physical world and the virtual one. Seventy percent of all jobs are now on LinkedIn.

Take stock of your skills and find your USP

The company you work for looks after its own interests, not yours. Although you are there to help your employer be successful, you also need to make sure you are successful. Your career is in your hands. If you fail to develop and learn new things, then your career will come to a standstill and ultimately, there will be no use for your outdated skills.

“You are the one who is responsible for your own skills and career development. Take stock of your skills and identify your USP and your goal. What strategy should you use to reach that goal? You need to draw up a plan for getting that dream job,” says Peter Cederqvist.

Build and communicate your personal brand one step at a time   

Building your personal brand is about getting your message across to the right people. People remember you by what you do, say and the feeling they get when they see, hear or meet you. Good relationships are built on emotional connections, in which both parties feel confidence and know what to expect of each other. “One way of building networks is to start groups via social media on topics you have expertise in, or issues you feel strongly about. Your contacts will follow you and you create a profile for yourself as the leader of the group,” explains Peter Cederqvist.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Showcase yourself with a modern CV and consultant profile

People who’ve read a lot of CVs get a bit tired of the uninspiring way people present themselves. Stand out from the crowd! It is vital to have an effective CV. You need to decide what you want your CV to do. Describe the kind of job you want and find out what skills are required. Lots of employers do keyword searches among CVs. You need to know which keywords you should use in order to be identified. Brief sections with headings will make your CV readable and succinct. Make sure your contact details are clearly written on the page, not in a footer, because some employers may not have the latest version of Word and therefore won’t see your details.

“You should use your CV to market yourself, not give your life story. The reader should get an immediate sense of the kind of jobs you’re looking for. If you are currently in work, you can use your job title if it represents your career goal and the kind of area you want to work in. Everyone has some kind of talent, but it takes practice to be really good. A company will appoint you because of your approach, because you have the right knowledge and because you’re willing to learn new things. The key is what you are able to offer!” emphasises Peter Cederqvist.

Create a LinkedIn profile that sets you apart from the rest

The first step is to set up a LinkedIn account. There are various types of account on LinkedIn with different functions. If you are a standard user, the free account will take you far. LinkedIn’s basic language is English, but you can opt to write your profile in English, Swedish or any other language. You will attract eleven times more profile views if you include a photograph. Your photo is the first thing a visitor looks at.

You can create a convincing heading about your background. For example: “Professional sales manager with experience from the media industry”. It’s also good to provide a catchy summary. Describe your professional experience and list all the training you’ve completed, qualifications and courses. “It’s also important to give a bit more detail about you as a person; maybe voluntary work, language skills, computer/IT expertise, membership of an association or trade organisation, scholarships, awards or military service. You can decide to include references or say you’re happy to provide references on request. And don’t forget to create an attractive layout,” says Peter Cederqvist. He continues: “LinkedIn is the most popular professional network in the world. If you don’t have a profile there, you don’t exist. Now’s your chance to really show the world what you can do. However, for LinkedIn to really work for you, you must put some time and effort into creating a really impressive profile and then keeping it continually up to date. If you are an active user and provide regular status updates and participate in groups, you will get the best results.”

If you are a consultant, freelancer or run your own company, then you’ll need another version of your CV with a solid presentation of yourself and a project history, list of specialist skills, certifications, etc. Try and find an effective career heading that describes you as a professional individual, instead of your current job title. You should try and convey two key messages: What you can offer, and How you can solve their problems/why they should choose you.

Select the right keywords and position them strategically

It is essential to choose the right keywords and position them strategically to increase your chances of being found by recruiters, potential employers, clients and journalists. These days it’s all about standing out from the crowd. You can enhance your areas of expertise using keywords. Include all specific skills and knowledge that show what sets you apart professionally and can attract a potential employer or client. Use explicit examples and success stories, giving details of your performance and results.

“It’s also important that you give a straightforward and clear description of your professional experience. You should also list the courses you have completed, including degree title, subject, grades, activities and association membership.  Add details of any specific company training courses or military training,” says Peter Cederqvist.

Get others to endorse your skills

The various people in your network can endorse the skills you have added to your profile. Their pictures will then be displayed in miniature next to the skill in question. Choose skills that people will recognise in you and that are easy for them to endorse. The people who endorse your skills give an idea of the perception others have of you. “It’s important that the skills that are endorsed support the way you want to come across. Certain skill terms are popular and there a lots of people competing for attention using these very same words. That’s why it’s essential that you choose your skill terms and constantly update your list of skills,” concludes Peter Cederqvist.

Christina Almgren

For further information

If you want to find out more about how to build your personal brand and create a winning LinkedIn profile, you can read the book: Stand out from the crowd! By Charlotte Hågård at publishing firm Langensköld.

Find out more about the company New Start Nordic at: www.newstart.se

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