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Professional Development: How to Stay Competitive in the Job Market and Advance Your Career

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The job market in 2023 is more competitive than it has been in quite some time. The tech industry has recently seen sweeping layoffs, particularly in the USA, and hiring is slowing down in Europe. This makes staying competitive more important than ever, whether you’re looking to advance your career within your current company, seek a new role, or even transition to a different sector.

Whatever the case, it’s critical that you take an active approach to remaining competitive and advancing your career, such as through professional development, networking, and paying attention to how you present yourself in the job market.

professional development

4 Ways to Stand Out in a Competitive Job Market

Actively Pursue Professional Development

Professional development is essential at all stages of your career. Whether you’re a recent graduate or an executive with decades of experience, you can always benefit from learning new skills and expanding your knowledge. Furthermore, in our modern, dynamic world, things change quickly, and training is an excellent way to keep up with the latest trends in your industry.

Further Education and Degree Programmes

Gaining a recognised qualification from a university or business school is one of the most effective ways to advance your career. Qualifications are one of the main factors that employers consider when hiring, so having that extra degree can put you ahead of the competition.

Furthermore, you may be finding that you’ve hit a limit when it comes to your current level of education. It may be that a bachelor’s degree was sufficient to land you an entry-level position, but to climb the career ladder and get better-paid positions, you need a master’s.

Master’s programmes can open up incredible new career opportunities, both in your current field or as part of a transition to a different sector. The right programme will allow you to build skills in in-demand disciplines such as analytics.

Short Courses

Short courses can also be a valuable way to further your professional development and make yourself more competitive in the job market. If you can’t commit to a full degree programme, a short course from a recognised institution is an excellent way to skill up, as well as demonstrate your commitment to professional development in the eyes of potential employers.

Another advantage of short courses is that they typically focus on specific areas, allowing you to develop your skills in an area that will be particularly helpful to your career. Reputable business schools like EDHEC offer a range of short courses, including online certificates and MOOCs (massive open online courses).

Network, Network, Network

Never underestimate the power of networking to advance your career and be competitive in the job market. A broad, diverse network can expose you to all kinds of opportunities. You can also leverage your network to get crucial career advice and even professional references.

Some effective ways to build your network include:

  • Attending industry events and conferences
  • Participating in relevant online groups
  • Keeping in touch with former colleagues and managers
  • Maintaining an active online presences, particularly by making sure you have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile
  • Connecting with peers and teachers through further education

Build Work Experience in Diverse Areas

It’s important to have certain skills and qualifications in a competitive job market, but experience is also essential. It’s easy to be outshined by another candidate with comparable skills to yours, but who has the most demonstrable experience.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend years in the same job before you can try to advance your career.

There are a range of ways to build up your experience and add to your CV, such as:

  • Take on extra responsibilities and additional roles in your current job
  • Join professional associations and volunteer for official roles
  • Offer to mentor junior colleagues
  • Sign up for volunteer work

Have a Killer CV

Once you have the right skills, experience, and references, there’s still one crucial final step: presenting it in the right way. Having a winning CV is essential in order to stand out from other candidates in a competitive job market.

This means not only putting the time and effort into writing a top-notch CV, but also doing this each and every time you apply for a job. Your CV should be tailored to the specific role and clearly demonstrate why your unique combination of skills, experience, and attitude makes you the front-runner. 

Even if you’re applying to similar positions, you shouldn’t recycle the exact same CV over and over, as every job specification will be different.

Be Active in Advancing Your Career

Staying competitive in the job market in order to take your career to the next level involves a continued commitment to professional development, networking, building experience, and keeping your CV at its best.

Professional development is arguably the most critical thing you can do to stand out to potential employers or put yourself first in line for a promotion with your current company. Whether a short course, diploma, or master’s degree, further education is one of the best ways to develop professionally.

EDHEC offers a range of fully online courses that allow you to develop your skills, build your network, and gain a recognised qualification, all in your own time and around your other commitments.

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