How to Make Yourself Stand Out as a Professional in 2022
Kameron Westcott provides helpful tips on how to make yourself stand out as a professional in 2022.
The professional landscape has changed drastically over the last couple of years. Working from home has become the new normal for millions of people, baby boomers are retiring and being replaced by Gen Z, and a record number of people are quitting their jobs. Even the way we look for work has changed, with video interviewing and freelance work becoming more commonplace.
In the face of these changes, you still need to find ways to stand out as a professional in 2022, whether you hope to start a new career or advance in your current position. The way to go about that will depend on the career you really want, but most of these tips can be applied to just about anyone looking for career advancement in 2022.
Look to Your Network
According to recent studies, 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking, and the vast majority of job openings aren't even posted publicly. In other words, finding a new job is as much about who you know as it is what you know. If you haven't done so recently, take a good look at your own network of colleagues, previous employers, and referral sources. Write down the names and contact information of those you know you can trust and who can help you find employment. Make updates to this information as needed, and don't be afraid to reach out to new colleagues who might not currently be in your network. Think of it as an audit of your professional network.
Clean Up Your Social Media
Speaking of performing audits, it's likely that your social media presence is in desperate need of one. Employers often look to Facebook, Instagram, and other social media networks when they're considering hiring a candidate for a job, so you want to make sure they won't see anything they might not like on any of your public accounts. Remove any references to too much partying and alcohol consumption, rants about previous employers, or anything that a relatively conservative employer might find questionable. Even things like poor grammar and spelling mistakes can paint you in a negative light. Your Facebook page doesn't need to look like a squeaky-clean LinkedIn account, but you should at least come off as a responsible adult to anyone who comes across it during a Google search.
Hire a Career Coach
Finding work in any field can be difficult, especially since so many people haven't had a traditional 9-to-5 job during most of the last two years. If you're worried about your ability to write a resume, search for employment, or ace an interview, don't hesitate to look to a career coach for advice. A career coach can help you identify and highlight skills that will help you in your job search while giving you advice on downplaying gaps in your employment or anything else that might hamper you. It's not unlike going to a therapist. Only instead of focusing on your mental health, you're focusing on your career goals.
Go Back to School
Okay, you don't actually have to enroll in a four-year college to advance your career right now. You can certainly do that, and it will help you get ahead, but not everyone wants to spend the time and money to earn a college degree in order to find employment. Instead, you can take some shorter classes at community or technical colleges to learn some new skills. This has become known as upskilling, and it's become very popular now that people find themselves with more free time. In many cases, you don't even need to go to a physical classroom to learn new skills; many schools offer online classes that allow you to learn from the comfort of your own home. Most of these courses are affordable and don't require a huge time commitment, but they look great on a resume and can help you if you really want to advance along your career path.
Work On Your Presentation Skills
Presentation is very important in the professional world. Even if you aren't going to show a PowerPoint presentation in a crowded boardroom anytime soon, you need to learn how to come off as a professional whenever you speak to someone. Practice your online presentation skills for your next Zoom interview and brush up on the differences between business professional and business casual dress. This will help you to focus on future presentations. Additionally, focus on being an assertive professional when you have to meet someone face-to-face, even when you're sitting at a computer in your home office.