If you could gaze into a crystal ball and see yourself landing your next job, what would you see? Hopefully a thoroughly impressed hiring manager, an attractive salary and benefits package, and a job you’re excited about. Make your future a reality by preparing to impress future employers now.
Think Like an Employer
While it’s impossible to predict the future, you can certainly shape it. Want to impress future employers? Then think like an employer before plotting out your plan. Pretend you’re an employer and create a list of everything that’s important to you as far as the ideal employee goes. In addition, ask actual employers which qualities are most important to them and add those to your list. For example, your list may look something like this:
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Always on time
- Current skills
- Critical thinker
- Independent worker
Once you have a list of traits, consider your own qualities. How well do you stack up against the list? Do you have those ideal characteristics? Do you have what it takes to impress future employers? Be honest and rate yourself on each of the traits you’ve identified. Which areas could use improvement? Which traits have you mastered?
By identifying your strengths and weaknesses in these areas, you can highlight what’ve you’ve accomplished and start improving weak areas. For example, if you already have strong interpersonal skills and are known for your discretion, write down a few examples of those skills in action. You can draw on these stories in future job interviews, illustrating how your interpersonal skills and discretion have served you and other employers.
Meanwhile, if you are chronically late to work, it’s time to improve. You may need to wake up earlier, find a more reliable means of transportation, or enroll in a time management class in order to become more punctual. Whether you want to impress your current or future employer, your efforts can lead to improved job performance, better work relationships, and less stress. Identifying and correcting issues allows you to grow professionally, and your efforts will eventually get noticed.
In addition to working on improving your soft skills, consider expanding your expertise. No matter what industry you are in, changes have likely occurred. Consider enrolling in a graduate or certificate program or taking classes on the latest technologies or innovations affecting your field. Your current employer may even have a formal tuition reimbursement program in place or offer online training classes to those who express an interest. Check with your human resources manager for information about updating your skills. Taking the initiative to upgrade your knowledge and skills will impress current and future employers alike.
Figure Out What You Want
So far we’ve focused on what you can do to impress your future employer, but what about what you want? A job you can get excited about! That job is different for everyone, and some people never take the time to figure out what that job might be. No matter how impressive you are as an employee, if you’re not excited about your job, then something important is missing.
In some cases, simple changes can turn a boring job into one you can get excited about. In others, a career or job change may be required. After making sure that you have the traits most valued by employers, work on defining your ideal job. The ability to show a future employer why you’re excited about the job could be one of the most impressive traits yet.