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6 top tips to get ahead with your career in 2021

Samantha Menzies
·Contributing editor
·4-min read
Man in his 30s sitting on chair with laptop, on phone call, communication, owner, entrepreneur
Image: Getty

It’s clear that the coronavirus has disrupted the way we work, and I doubt we can ever expect the old ‘normal’ to return.

The year 2020 has been an unforgettable one for our workforce - jobs were lost, businesses closed down and those who managed to remain employed saw a significant shift to remote working, virtual meetings and zoom calls.

It makes sense then that if the job industry and the job market has shifted, that your approach to your career should also.

So if you’re looking to change, develop or take a step forward in your career in Australia’s job market for 2021, you’re going to have to make a few changes in order to stand out from the crowd.

Recruiting experts Hays recently put together some top tips for how to wilfully disrupt your job search for the next 12 months.

Here we’ve picked out the best six.

Personalise your approach

Any job applicant can shoot the same CV template and cover letter to several different employers and sit back to wait for the calls to come in.

Unfortunately, while that may have worked in the past, it won’t cut it in the new and developing job market.

In 2021, relationship building is going to be more important than ever to make sure you and your resume stand out from the crowd.

So instead make a genuine effort to research each employer's values and business ethic, engage with the hiring manager or recruiter and tailor your application so it comes across as a personal effort.

Step out of your comfort zone

If you’re looking to take a step forward and advance your career in 2021, you’ll need to consider stepping entirely out of your comfort zone and applying for jobs or opportunities sectors or industries you’ve not worked in before.

For example, as Hays points out, industries where vacancy activity is the highest - technology, healthcare, logistics, infrastructure and professional services - would have strong job opportunities on offer.

Don’t sell yourself short

If you're not adept at sales, you’ll probably find it difficult to boldly put forward your unique selling points and key strengths when applying for a role.

But with such a competitive job market, it’s essential.

From sharing and proving achievements to presenting yourself appropriately (even if it’s a virtual interview), the way you sell yourself could make all the difference when it comes to the final decision.

Find the positives in a difficult year

Sure, 2020 may not have been kind to you, but it wasn’t kind to many of us.

A new recruiter or hiring manager doesn’t need to hear about how your career plans went astray or how you have struggled through the past 12 months.

What they do want to see is you demonstrating how you overcame the challenges presented to you through the coronavirus lockdowns, job losses and economic downturn.

By presenting how you used the opportunity - employed or unemployed - to develop your professional career and upskill yourself you’re demonstrating both commitment and a positive can-do attitude.

Prove your soft skills

This moves us directly to another top career tip - proving your soft skills are up to scratch.

As remote working becomes a more permanent feature of our working lives, soft skills such as good communication, resilience and adaptability will become even more important.

Communication can easily get lost through technology, especially emotion and empathy, so it's vital that leaders are able to clearly and effectively communicate what they need to and when.

Meanwhile, in an ever-changing working world new employers want to hire workers who are able to demonstrate the critical skills of adaptability and resilience because when things change and adapt they’ll need employees who are able to offer support.

As Hays Group points out, it would be beneficial to share examples and demonstrate these soft skills both in your CV and in an interview.

Keep your social media updated

Cleaning up your digital footprint might seem obvious, but Hays Group says they “continue to see countless candidates who fail to review their social media profiles before applying for a job”.

Whether it's a questionable picture, inappropriate meme or a scathing product review, it could dampen your professional reputation and could cost you a job, or even a job interview.

Now, more than ever, businesses are looking online to vet a potential hiree, especially if they’re partaking in virtual meetings and interviews.

Now is the time to clean out your social media, update your LinkedIn profile and become active in industries and organisations which both interest you and are applicable to your career.

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