Today’s business climate is more competitive than ever and there are many people out there competing for the best jobs available. How can you set yourself apart from the rest of the job hunters, and ensure that you stand out to potential employers?
Many financial institutions are seeking professionals who know what they want and are determined to progress in their career.
1. Be your own salesperson
"Think of yourself as a salesperson whose livelihood is dependent on the sales of your product, except in this case, the product you are marketing and selling is yourself." - Nick Louca, Associate Director.
The most effective marketer knows how to position his or her product and advertise all the benefits that are relevant to the needs of a buyer. Similarly, to close the sale and wow the employer, you need to expound on the benefits of the product - your strengths, work experience, industry knowledge, contacts, specific skills, abilities and successes, and quote examples that matter most to the business’ objectives or vision. Relevancy is the keyword here even if you are seeking to work in a new division. It is important for you to critically evaluate the key transferable skills you possess which will add significant value to the potential hirers.
2. Be a networking guru
Network constantly and aggressively with other finance professionals, but stay focused. Attend various business and social networking events to increase your profile, and contribute actively to these platforms by sharing your success stories, interesting case studies or market insights that you have gathered throughout your career in the finance industry.
Nick Louca continues: "Be aware of market and industry trends so that you can build your strengths in the areas that are in high demand, or discuss issues intelligently with potential employers or other contacts you have made at the networking events."
3. Know the company inside and out
One of the best ways to stand out from other job seekers and impress your potential employers is to show them your knowledge of the company and the industry. Make it your mission to find out as much as you can on the companies where you would like to work and do due diligence on its senior management, history, products, services, successes, significant projects, partners and most of all, its competitors.
"Think of yourself as a sales person whose livelihood is dependent on the sales of your product, except in this case, the product you are marketing and selling is yourself."
Demonstrate your commitment and sincerity by asking concise, focused and clear questions about the company. The employer will see you as someone who is noticeably interested, proactive and serious about the job and the organization. Such an approach can help to establish your credibility and increase your profile above the other candidates.
4. Moving forward
Many people tend to focus too much on presenting their past job responsibilities instead of showcasing their achievements and accomplishments to prospective employers. One of the secrets to marketing yourself is to use your previous work experience and successes to convince potential employers that you possess the knowledge, expertise and skills that their company and industry need to help move them forward.
Instead of relating what functions you were responsible for, share how well you have performed in that role. For example, instead of saying, “I worked on the monthly close process” use active words that imply your contribution to the progress of the function like, “Over the course of my time with my former employer, I successfully streamlined the monthly close process.”
Tweak your resume to highlight a success rather than merely listing a responsibility. By doing so, you come across as a forward looking visionary and results-oriented candidate, which is essentially what every employer and headhunter is looking for.
5. Work with a reputable headhunter
Specialist recruitment consultants from reputable search firms can help highlight your most compelling transferable skills and build a strong case for you to hirers. When you work with headhunters, you will also receive invaluable career consultation and advice, as well as professional coaching to help prepare you for interviews. A good recruitment consultancy can utilize their existing relationships within the finance sector to open new career opportunities and provide a selection of potential jobs from the high profile organizations or new industries that they represent.
6. Testimonials and referrals
Testimonials and referrals are an excellent way to market yourself. Having someone else’s endorsement on your personality, capabilities and performance is an extremely powerful tool. Third party testimonials take on an objective stance and give you more credibility. What makes testimonials and referrals so believable is that you are no longer promoting yourself, but have other people doing it for you - willingly.
Start saving emails and written comments from your colleagues, superiors, clients, customers and business partners that compliment your work efficiency, professionalism, contribution, skills and abilities or anything that is highly positive and reinforces your strengths. Use your testimonials as success stories when meeting prospective employers or list them down as quotes in your resume. They serve as a strong summary of your accomplishments without appearing like bragging, and give hirers a quick snapshot of your profile. Finance specific business and social networking events are the most ideal platform for referral-building as they will often provide you with targeted contacts, leads and other opportunities.
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