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    5 Ways to Stand Out in a Competitive Entry Level Job Market

    “The market is hard, there are no jobs out there.” familiar quote? Truth is we get emails day and and night from people saying these exact words. Things are tough, the market has slowed down and people aren't recruiting as freely and openly as they once did - but in my opinion this just means that candidates have to focus more on how to attract the right employer! It only backs up the fact that in order to step up and stand a REAL chance of getting that job, you have to see your chances in a completely different light! Having been in the recruitment market now for a couple of years I'm sharing my most effective tips to help you stand out in a competitive entry level job market.

    1# “You are your own brand”

    Ask yourself - what does my lifestyle say about me? Get an outside opinion and try to be as objective as possible. Appearance is important and you have to look the part. Do you come across as someone who would fit in to a particular working environment? Your social media footprint can leave an unattractive trail. Employers have been known to research potential candidates through facebook or other social media. Do your profiles fit in with or sell your professional brand? I would suggest that you try to keep them as clean and inoffensive as possible- alternatively you could make them private for an added sense of security.

    Read Position Ignition's 125 Personal Branding Tips eBook for more help around creating a strong and positive personal brand.

    2# “Do not let the job description scare you”

    Lacking desired experience and qualifications are not the end of the world - We all had to start somewhere. In most cases, the gap between entry level and middleweight can be closer than you would think. With that said, try not to let the job description scare you. It’s very rare that a candidate possesses all of the desired experience and qualifications an employer may request. It’s imperative that you ask yourself what you can do to bolster your experience and qualifications. Work experience is great for helping fill gaps in your profile or CV, as well as allowing you to gain skills and experience. My advice is to offer your services to a small company for free or at a greatly reduced price in exchange for a reference and training. Employers love to hear from proactive people that make an effort to improve their knowledge and value! Try to avoid being out of some form of work for long periods of time. Gaps in your CV can raise concerns regarding your suitability for an employer.

    3# “Employers need value”

    There's usually an equation that calculates a person's potential productivity in ratio to the financial exposure or “risk.” an employer faces when bringing you on board. This also involves the amount it costs to keep you on board. This value is reflected in your salary. Depending on the size of the company, an employer will usually advertise a pay scale that ranges between two figures, in most cases the lowest offer would be made to someone that presents a greater risk.  At the higher end, would be an offer made to a person at lower risk.  It’s important that you take this on board because when an employer brings on a new members of staff, they do take into consideration a candidates risk vs reward - and this can make all the difference. With this said, there are things you can to make yourself appear more valuable. Showing potential and giving an employer an added sense of security can also help, so try to demonstrate what you can do to reduce an employer's risk. At interview, try to come across as someone that’s easy to get along with. Remember, emotional risk can be equally or more important than financial risk, employers are more likely to give you a chance if they like you.

    4# “Do your research”

    Employers love an informed perspective - find out how the company works. An experienced recruiter once advised me that prior to starting a new job, it can be good to go in and spend a couple of hours learning about your new colleagues and company cultures. By doing this, your first day will not be as daunting having already met your new colleagues.

    5# “Be nice”

    I really can’t stress enough how important it is to just be a nice person! People choose to work with people they like! Make sure your telephone demeanor is as friendly and sincere as possible and try not to keep people on the phone for too long. Continuously stress how “helpful” people have been and “how much you appreciate that person's time” remember, people love to feel valued and appreciated - this also means they’re far more likely to forward your email to the relevant person! Finally, try to be stay dignified. Even if things do not go as well as you had hoped, it’s all a learning curve so be sure to ask for feedback- take it in, and move on to the next one!

    My best advice is to get your foot in the door somewhere. It doesn't have to be glamorous or particularly well paid!. Bare in mind that the best time to apply for a job is when you already have one. This gives you so much more leverage - people always want something more that they can't have. By implementing these quite simple techniques, you should stand a much stronger chance of standing out in a competitive entry level job market. 1# you are your own brand, 2# Dont let the job description scare you, 3# Employers need value, 4# Do your research, 5# Be nice. Good luck and be bold.

    About the author

    Omar Garnette- Lewis is the co- founder of Providajob, a new social jobsite that is rethinking the way entry level job seekers prepare for, find and secure jobs. Our site, incorporates Facebooks youthful feel with LinkedIns useful functionality.

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