There’s still an unbelievably large pool of job seekers in Nigeria with not enough positions to go around. Consequently, employers can afford to be very selective in looking for qualified applicants who bring more to the table. It is therefore necessary to invest in becoming a more employable prospect, as one never knows when one might need to find a new job or apply for a promotion.

These 8 tips can help you greatly increase your chances of landing a job by taking action and learning some practical skills:

1. Keep Your Resume Updated and Specific

Without updating your resume and tailoring it to each specific job you apply for, you really shouldn’t expect an interview. This is especially true if your potential employers receive numerous customized resumes and cover letters from people who have gone the extra mile.

Whenever you complete a training course or take on more responsibilities at your current job, you should include them on your resume as soon as possible. It is also advisable to include links to your social media profiles, make sure you use your most up-to-date email address, and create a .pdf version of your resume for email purposes. This looks much better than a Word document.

Bear in mind that it is necessary to read vacancies carefully to understand the responsibilities and duties required, and focus on skills that properly match each specific position when putting your resume and cover letter together.

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2. Further Your Education

If you haven’t been learning new skills or engaging in self-development on a regular basis, especially if you have been working in the same job for a long period of time, you need to keep yourself abreast and learn new things. Endeavour to attend affordable workshops and seminars to expand and improve on your skillset.

Bear in mind that the less resources a company has to spend training you, the better for them. Additional skills might also propel you to a greater role in your organization and possibly fast-track your movement up the corporate ladder.

3. Improve Your Social Media Game

If you want to become more employable, you have to improve your online presence. If you are savvy on social media platforms and maintain a strong profile, you will greatly increase your chances of landing a job (or moving up the ranks at your current organization). Having an up-to-date profile on a platform such as LinkedIn will remarkably improve your employment prospects. Many employers now search online for qualified job applicants, as opposed to frequently advertising openings.

Conversely, it is also imperative to ensure your social media profiles aren’t losing you jobs. Distasteful or controversial posts, as well as other unpleasant unprofessional additions will only do you more harm than good.

4. Sharpen Your IT Skills

Possessing efficient IT skills will always give you an edge. You do not necessarily need to be conversant with all the different types of systems that prospective companies may use, but being generally competent with IT skills is necessary.

Do note that including the names of systems you may have used just once on your list of qualifications is not a good idea, as employers may put you on the spot with a test. Even worse, you may be recruited and expected to use a complex system that you aren’t really conversant with.

5. Develop a Positive Attitude

While it is understandable that you might feel hopeless after months of looking for a job, you must realise that you could bring your negative demeanour into every interview. Unfortunately, employers will notice your lack of confidence, as it will be very evident in your attitude and in the manner in which you respond to questions, and you likely would lose the spot to someone who seems more confident and invigorated.

Difficult as it might seem, refuse to let setbacks keep you discouraged. Make it a point of duty to stay confident and determined, and everything you do will reflect this attitude.

6. Be Proactive

The age-long cliché “the early bird gets the worm” still holds true. Proactive people know just how to seize great opportunities. So instead of waiting for employment opportunities to find you, look around, ask questions, and find them.

A proactive attitude remarkably promotes great work ethic and shows employers that you are the kind of person that loves to take initiative. This is something every employer appreciates.

7. Leverage Your Connections and Networks

Networking can easily be done online by joining forums and groups dedicated to your industry. You could get busy by asking and answering questions, offering help to others, and generally making contacts and staying in touch with them.

If you could do this consistently, you would be one of the first to hear of openings in the industry, and would also have much less difficulty finding people to use as references or mentors when necessary.

8. Brush up Your Interview Skills

If you adhere to all the previous suggestions but have terrible interview skills, most employers won’t give you a second thought. Don’t just focus on mastering responses to familiar and common interview questions. Also endeavour to learn more about the company by reading press releases, news articles, or studying their financials. This shows your employers that you’ve done your homework and have a genuine interest in their company.

Great first impressions are essential, so you should endeavour to dress smart when heading to an interview, as this is sure to leave a good impression on your interviewer. You never get a second opportunity to make a first impression, so make sure it counts.

It also helps to have several mock interviews with friends or relatives to ensure your answers are accurate and succinct. A good tip is to search online for the top interview questions specific to the field you are applying to, and come up with impressive responses to each one.

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