7 ways to become more employable

By Bec | Changing Your Job or Career Path

Want to become more employable? Try these actionable tips! - Pop Your Career

Are you looking for ways to become more employable? Perhaps you’ve decided that it’s time to change jobs, but you’re not getting a great response from your applications? Or maybe you haven’t started applying yet, but you want to ensure you’re ahead of the game? Well, I’ve got your back! In this post I’m sharing 9 ways that you can become more employable and they’re all super actionable! Let’s go!

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1. Do some volunteer work to broaden your experience

If you’re thinking about a career change, it can be difficult to prove you have what it takes. Gaining volunteer experience is a great way to do it. Taking on a volunteering opportunity may seem counter-intuitive if you’re already in paid employment. But, don’t discount it. Volunteering can broaden your experience and demonstrate that you have the required skills. It is also a chance for you to gain new referees, who will vouch for your abilities. All of these things will make you more employable. 

In addition to this, volunteering can give you a chance to experience new things and “try before you buy”. For instance, if you’re thinking about a career change, you can gain exposure to the new field before making a huge commitment. Have I sold you yet? If you’re still not sure, give it a go. You’ll never know if you don’t!

2. Obtain a qualification or do some additional training

I am not a fan of gaining qualifications for no reason. Especially if you’re doing it because you have imposter syndrome and you’re doing it to validate yourself. But, qualifications and other types of training can indeed make you more employable, especially in a tight market. 

Training can certainly be expensive, but it is an investment in your future. What I would suggest though, is that before you sign up to something on a whim, you do your research. Look at the courses available. Ask around to see which courses are favourable in your industry. And if you’ve narrowed the list and there’s a specific qualification or training opportunity that takes you’re fancy, consider getting in contact with previous students. It’s well worth asking if they enjoyed the course and how it has impacted their career path. 

For a degree in just about any subject, Open Universities is a great starting point. Or, if you want to do something specific then search for an establishment that offers exactly the course you need. For example, if you want to go into a property based job then looking for real estate courses would make sense.

3. Develop your soft skills

It’s easy to overlook your soft skills, but it’s a bad move. Soft skills, as in, non-technical skills, are becoming more and more important. Whether you’re looking to improve your skills in communication, public speaking, leadership, conflict resolution, interpersonal relationships, sales or something else completely, there are plenty of options available. 

Developing your soft skills proves your commitment to your own personal and professional development. And of course, this can make you more employable! There are lots of organisations around (like Toastmasters for public speaking) where you can improve your soft skills. There are also plenty of online courses, short courses offered at TAFE or by community groups, and even specialised coaches who can support you on your journey. I’d highly recommend it!


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4. Make sure your resume and applications are up to scratch

Okay, so if you’ve been hanging around for a while, you’ll know how important it is for your resume and job applications to be on point. It’s your own opportunity to provide a good first impression. Make it a good one! Here on the Pop Your Career blog, there are heaps of helpful articles about how you can improve your application game. And I have no doubt that utilising these tips will make you more employable. 

I don’t write resumes anymore as I’ve decided to focus on career coaching. But if you would like some help with writing your resume, I have a couple of options for you. First, you can check out my online course, Detox Your Resume. Detox Your Resume guides you through the process of creating stand-out content and design for your resume and is broken down into easy-to-follow chunks. Alternatively, my friend Shannon from Verdigris Employment may be able to help you craft your perfect application. 

5. Seek support in articulating your strengths and achievements

Since I’ve mentioned career coaching, it’s a good time to remind you how I can help. Many of my clients come to me because they need assistance in understanding and articulating their strengths and achievements. We aren’t naturally born with the ability to talk about ourselves. Let alone promote ourselves effectively. This is where I come in. 

Through coaching, I am able to help you to break down your key skills and strengths and formulate language to talk about them persuasively. We can do the same with your achievements. I can guide you through a process of mapping out what you have achieved in your career, using the STAR method, so that you can communicate it during the application and interview process. If you’re interested in working with me, get in touch!

6. Consider being more proactive in your job search 

It would be remiss of me not to mention the hidden job market. If you want to make yourself more employable, being more proactive in your job search could be helpful. The statistics are always changing (and are not necessarily accurate). But some say that up to 80% of jobs are filled without being advertised. Even if the real stats are half this, that’s a lot of jobs that aren’t making there way to the job boards!

To access the hidden job market, you can start by networking. Networking is fantastic for building your contacts and helping you to connect with influential people in your industry. Make a good impression and this could potentially lead to a job opportunity! I’m not kidding. The saying, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know” is definitely not an old wives’ tale.

7. Compile a portfolio of your work

Portfolios are fabulous for providing employers with examples of your work. There’s a common misconception that portfolios are just for creatives. This is definitely not the case. Although employers may not always want to view your portfolio, it’s good to have one that you can refer them to, if needed. And these days, the best place to keep your portfolio is on the world-wide web!

Obviously, you don’t want to share information that is commercial in confidence. But where you do have samples of your work that don’t breach your organisation’s confidentiality policy, you should definitely share them! Another way you can build your portfolio is to put together demo samples. This can be helpful if you aren’t able to share any of the work you have done. If you’re in communications, put together a pretend media release. If you have a background in project management, create a project plan. Be creative and enjoy the process.

Are you ready to become more employable? 

Which of these tips are you planning to use? How will you make yourself more employable in a competitive market? Let me know in the comments, or send me a note with your thoughts!

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Want to become more employable? Try these actionable tips! - Pop Your Career

About the Author

Bec McFarland is an experienced HR practitioner, manager, career coach and the creator of Pop Your Career. She delights in sharing practical, straight to the point career advice, spending time with her family and eating Mexican food.