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How to get ahead in a competitive job market

An interview with marketing rockstar Jonathan Wilson

It’s never too early to start thinking about your first job out of university. The problem is, it’s rarely easy to get that first big break. So what can you do to put yourself in the best position to succeed?

We spoke to Prof Jonathan Wilson, Lecturer at GSM London, to get his top tips on getting ahead in a competitive job market.

1. Get your coat on and meet people IRL

Put yourself in a position to succeed by engaging with people in real life. “Social media is good,” says Jonathan, “but there is only so much you can gain from sitting behind a screen.” Put your coat on and get out and about to multiply your chances of getting lucky.

2. Get T-shaped knowledge

T-shaped knowledge is about having a specialism, but also having that vital breadth of knowledge that employers are looking for. It’s good to be swotted up about one thing – but make sure you read widely. It will help you to understand and engage with the broad variety of people you will encounter in your professional life.

3. Hang around with people you admire

“Try to hang around people you admire”, says Jonathan. Strike up conversations with people that interest or inspire you – you’ll learn about them, and also about yourself. As Jim Rohn said, “you are the average of the five people you spend most time with.”

4. Create content to show who you are

“You need to arm employers with enough information to make it easy to make a decision,” says Jonathan. Employers need to know that you are 1) a safe pair of hands, and 2) someone that they would like to spend 40 hours a week with in their working life. Make it easy for future employers to learn about you by creating public social media content that demonstrates you’re sharp, work-ready, and a great person to have around.

5. Use your CV to brag in the right way

The CV is just about the only place where it’s OK to brag, but you need to do it in the right way. You need to benchmark by reading about other people, speaking to people, and even asking to read peoples’ CVS to check that you are positioning yourself in a way to get you noticed.  Always have a CV ready “on ice” to send out, and as Jonathan puts it, “become a nerd at learning what employers look for.”

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