IN 14 YEARS, I HAVE BEEN RECRUITED, SEEK-ED OUT, AND HEADHUNTED A TOTAL OF 7 TIMES. EVERY JOB I'VE HAD SINCE THE TIME I GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE, HAS BEEN THE RESULT OF OTHER'S SEEKING ME OUT.
Was it always my plan? No, not really.
Did I apply for other jobs along the way? UM, Yes of course.
And to be honest, I've had job rejections, turned down offers which I later regretted, and been laid off three times in a row along the way.
Although I've somehow always had luck on my side (it could be my Sagittarian trait speaking here), to say it's sheer luck would be a lie. And to those out there who think I'm just lucky all the time, are also mislead too. From a very young age, I've alway felt an 'otherness' and internal motivation. I remember being in high school, and always thinking that I didn't belong in that small town, and had aspirations of being successful, creative, fashionable and loving life in a big city. I couldn't wait to move out of my hometown, and essentially move away from living at my parent's home. I was determined to do everything in my power to go to school, work and live in a big city. Although my interests and career paths have changed, my internal motivation has never stopped.
Here are some of my 🔑🔑 on standing out:
INVESTING IN YOURSELF.
I always say invest in yourself no matter what. You may have children taking up your time and energy or a demanding job that leaves your jet-lagged and exhausted, but in end, you need to nurture YOU. It may mean taking a retreat to recharge your batteries, taking an online course, or meeting with a therapist to work out some kinks. I don't have much to say on this except, when you invest in YOU, only YOU will reap the benefits. Not your employer, not your accountant or co-worker. YOU. When you're continuously working on yourself, for yourself, you will be more confident and balanced, and other's will notice.
WORK HARDER THAN YOUR CO-WORKER.
This is a give in. The harder your work, the hungrier you are, the better your chances are for standing out. There's a divide between people that are hungry, and people who comfortable with their current situations. By working harder, it can mean different things. It can mean taking on projects that are undesirable to other people on your team, learning skills outside your job description, or doing a gig that is less pay but will add experience to your resume. I'm not saying to be that annoying effing overachiever at work who comes in super early and is the last one to leave, I am saying: take on work, that will work FOR you. For me, that meant being open to taking on a lot of freelance design jobs, helping out with other team's projects, taking on not-so-glamorous tasks like stock price comparisons and peer group analysis. What that did for me was, build my portfolio of work and list of freelance clients, broaden my work circle and learn new skills and terminology that will later benefit me. Eventually you will start to build up a rapport of being a hard worker, and stand out as someone one who can take on more challenges and opportunities. This is what companies, headhunters and recruiters are looking for, NOT the employee that's comfortable in the status quo or who is always complaining about their job, boss, co-workers, clients and projects.
CREATE YOUR OWN NICHE.
I've been fortunate to carve out my own niche a few times, and I'm lucky to have 2 key backgrounds that are rooted in both design and communications. One of my niche's was accidentally created while working in the mining industry. Because I came from an architectural and graphic design background, I could navigate AutoCAD, read technical drawings, create mining-specific visuals and technical graphics in a not so 'technical and boring way'. It took a bit of time during the first few months of transitioning into the mining industry to learn all the types of terminology and collateral that is typically used in the Communications and Investor Relations part of the business. I got frustrated along the way, but I finally picked it up, and used the advantage of being an newbie/outsider to the industry, to put my own design spin and 'fresh eyes' on the same conservative content that people in the industry have been used to seeing. My work did not go unnoticed. When the company I was working for had to lay me off, I was almost immediately headhunted by another mining company. I could easily create and produce, without having to re-learn the whole mining industry. I could very easily transition into working with other mining companies. It was an easier decision for companies to hire me, than to hire another graphic designer with no prior knowledge of the industry. Although I was yet again laid off (the mining industry is fickle in the down periods), and work in a completely different industry (the beauty industry... I know total opposite), to this day, I am still sought after by mining companies and consultants for specific projects. And because of it, I can charge accordingly. Creating your own niche is not always easy, but it takes 2 parts: assessing your current situation and seeing how you can navigate it in your favour, and honing your skills to be the best you can within that skill set in the industry you are in. In the end, when you have your own niche, that no one else (or very little people) has created, your chances of being recruited for opportunities specific to that, are going to be more promising. Do you want to be a good well-rounded chef, or a decent chef who can slay a truffle dish like no other? A personal shopper in a department store or a stylist that specializes in men's athleisure? Think about it.
GO FOR COFFEE.
So many times we meet people at conferences, networking events, happy hours or even online, that we click with on a professional level or like-minded work vibe. You may share the same business principles, you may be in the same industry, or you both may be starting out on the same career level. If you have some sort of comfort level with someone, and believe that you may be able to benefit from the connection, don't let it fizzle out at just a business card exchange or LinkedIn connection. Go for coffee and connect again. I've met people at conferences and online, and have had good experiences whether it be gaining a peer in the industry, or them referring me to another colleague in need of design work. You never know where and who you are going to get your next job or opportunity from, so use those connections and nurture the ones that are worthwhile for you.
GET NOTICED, BUT DON'T ACT THIRSTY.
You need to be SEEN to be noticed.
Update and upload your resume to job sites. Put effort into your LinkedIn account. Attend business or industry events. Introduce yourself to headhunters. Stay in touch with those people you have had coffee with. Write a blog. Cross-promote on other blogs and do features and interviews when you can. Put in some solid effort into your public social media accounts...
What I am saying here, is that whatever you want to be noticed for, put it out there for the world to see.
I am not saying to go crazy and flood the internet and people's inboxes promoting how great your are, because no one likes a thirst trap.
I'm just saying put in a solid effort into curating your public self or personal brand. There are a lot of people out there with the fear of putting too much out there, which I can understand because essentially what is on the internet lives forever... BUT if you want to get noticed, you need to put part of yourself out there to get noticed. Don't get caught up in perfecting every single thing, because theres ALWAYS going to be another person out there with a not-so-perfect blog or LinkedIn profile, that has a leg up on you already, simply because of the fact that they DID put themselves out there while you're still sitting there wondering why no one is knocking on your virtual door with new opportunities. Like I said earlier, companies, headhunters and recruiters are looking for people that are always working harder, smarter, and putting themselves out there... NOT the person that is comfortable in the status quo of their current situation.