There is no doubt it’s a candidate’s market. Hiring continues to rise, and in the last 12 months, 80% of our placements negotiated a 20% increase in compensation over their current or previous role. This does not mean the job search market is any less competitive. Some would argue it’s even more competitive now than it was during the recession and unemployment was at its height. Top-notch candidates have emerged in every industry and they are all jockeying for a position at the interview table.

So how can you stand out in a job search or showcase the growth you will bring your current company with a promotion?

6 Ways to Increase Your Professional Street Cred

Flex your leadership muscles

Too often, professionals wait to be handed leadership opportunities. But we say, “There’s no time like the present!” Management may not have the bandwidth (or perspective) to seek you out when they are looking for someone to take the lead. Therefore, you must be your own advocate. By seeking out opportunities to lead a project or campaign, you are increasing your value to the organization.

Push back

No boss wants to work with someone who consistently argues or questions the program. However, every boss wants to work with someone who can present an alternate strategy that will cut costs or increase productivity and sales. It’s all in the approach… Provide data and facts to support your alternate idea and chances are leadership will see you as an innovative asset who takes initiative rather than a naysayer who won’t get on board.

Build mentor relationships

There are two sides to this coin. First, aligning yourself with someone within the organization with more experience and tenure is extremely beneficial. Not only will he or she show you the skills to be successful in your role but you now have an advocate who will spread the word about what a valuable asset you are. On the flip side, becoming a mentor will support your reputation as a team player and someone invested in the future success of the company.

Acquire new skills and knowledge

Sometimes professional growth happens outside the office. Maybe it’s time to get that MBA you’ve dreamed about. Perhaps there are additional trainings, certifications, and courses you can complete to expand your skillset or broaden the depth of your knowledge. The key is to grow in areas that are critical to the organization and increase your value to the company. In the end, these efforts make you a more desirable and marketable candidate outside your organization, as well.

Continuously develop your resume

Few professionals keep a current copy of their resume on hand. In fact, most only pull it out of the archives when they’re scrambling to get the job search launched.  However, keeping an updated version of your resume with real-time, quantifiable results is an excellent way to make you stand out from the job seeker crowd or support your request for a promotion (or a raise!).  “Keep a record of everything you do that enhances the company’s bottom line, that puts the company or your department in a good light, that is creative and innovative, and that shows your loyalty and commitment to the organization.”

Develop a shining rep

It goes without saying that our reputations precede us – especially in this day and age of social media. Word travels quickly if you are viewed as a difficult person to work with or an unfair leader. Therefore, strive to be a team player and problem solver, steer clear of drama and toxic relationships, and, most importantly, be known as a reliable contributor who follows through and goes above and beyond to bring success to the team and the organization.

Download our Talent Quarterly and learn how your company can attract and retain candidates with top-notch street cred!

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