One of the struggles that many people face when looking to advance in their career is how to prepare to move up to the next level while already working a job and juggling other commitments.
Here at Matchitude, we're all about making the little things count so here are our top 5 ways that you can increase your employability in just five days off work.
1) Take a course.
Taking a course can mean anything from signing up for a part-time MBA to doing a free online course in your spare time. Pick something that interests you and preferably something that will give you a specific skill (e.g. it teaches you a piece of software, or how to do something). If time and money is an issue, your best bet is likely to look at free online courses like those offered on Coursera, Udemy, Codecademy, and others.
Volunteering can help your career in various ways—it shows a willingness to work for others, and an ability to work in a team. Both are traits which are very attractive to prospective employers.
Depending on the role you take on, it could even be an opportunity to do the kind of work that you would eventually like someone to pay you to do (e.g. if you're a marketing assistant, you might like to look for voluntary work overseeing the marketing for a small charity). Volunteering can be an ongoing commitment, or a one-off stint of anything from a couple of hours to a few weeks.
Depending on your interests, you could approach care homes, hospitals, park or woodland maintenance groups, or local charities to offer your services. Do It has a database of volunteer opportunities across the UK, including some that can be done from home.
3) Spend time on a hobby.
When employers ask about your hobbies, they're generally hoping for something other than "Watching Netflix and going on Facebook"!
Many of us find it difficult to find the time to spend painting, playing sport, baking, cycling or doing whatever else it is that we really enjoy. If that is you, try to take half a day this summer to reconnect with your favourite hobby.
That way, when someone asks you in an interview about your hobbies, you can tell them about your recent attempt at a mirror-glaze cake or the 5 mile hike that you did last month.
4) Evaluate your strengths and desires.
Sometimes it is helpful to take a step back and really evaluate where you are heading in your career.
Over time, we discover strengths that we never knew we had and our desires change. There is no point in increasing your employability in your current profession if you actually want to change your career track. Taking the time to evaluate where you're at now can help you to make the right choices moving forward.
Should you aim for a promotion or go for a career change? Do you want to stay in your current job for another five years or another six months? Do you want to do more statistical analysis in the future or less? When you cover your co-worker's time off, do you enjoy doing their job more or less than doing your own?
You might want to try WAVE-LAB to see if your career is the best fit for you, or even book a session with a career coach.
5) Brainstorm how to make the most of your current job.
One of the top ways to increase your employability is to excel at your current job.
It's tempting to leave work at the office (or if you are working from home to spend the time 'firefighting'), but try taking a couple of hours this summer to think about how your current job could change or expand to a) add value for your employer and b) make the job more enjoyable for you.
This may mean taking on additional responsibilities, or setting up a new project that you know your customers would love. Whatever it is, brainstorm how you could fit the extra work into your current role and how to present the idea to your boss. Just think of the brownie points you'll earn when you come back from holiday with renewed enthusiasm and suggestions to benefit the company!
All the while, expanding your current role can give you the experience you need to catch the eye of your next employer.
5 1/2) Bonus: Create your Matchitude prospectus!
The bonus sixth way you can increase your employability this summer is to go to www.matchitude.com and create your prospectus!
Your prospectus is anonymous and is your chance to tell potential employers what you have to offer them and what kind of job you're looking for. Once your prospectus is activated on Matchitude, it can be viewed by employers at any time of day or night and they can contact you if they are interested in you for a vacancy.
This way, when you're back to the daily grind and don't have time to spend your evenings looking at job adverts and tweaking your CV, you know that your details are already out there for employers to see.