Here Are the Keys to Staying Ahead of Other Candidates

As a new year begins, many workers are beginning to re-examine their career paths. Whether considering a job change, actively seeking other opportunities, or hitting the refresh button on an existing job search now is the right time to formulate a plan for the year ahead.

Before starting to circulate the resume and hit the job boards, it’s best to do a self-inventory on strengths and weakness not only with your resume but your overall career and profile.


Like it or not, networking is critical in professional development. Activities can include attending seminars and conferences. Also, social functions, such as happy hours and mixers, can also be valuable. If a job seeker isn’t a natural at networking, there are several books available to help an introvert job seeker tap their full networking potential.

Adding Certifications to Your Resume

While adding certifications to your resume isn’t easy or inexpensive it can add significantly to a resume. Look at job openings in your field to get a better idea of required versus preferred certifications for your next role. This research will go a long way when looking at the time and financial investment that certifications require.

Establishing Your Online Brand and Cleaning-up Your Online Profile

LinkedIn, whether you love it or loathe it, is a tool widely used in business today. Ensuring your profile puts your best foot forward is crucial when navigating the waters of social media. First, invest in a professional headshot. Your profile photo is one of the first things recruiters see and leaves a lasting impression. Also, spend some time cleaning up your profile and ensure that it is free of typos or grammatical errors. Finally, doing a quick google search of yourself isn’t a bad idea either. Make sure that your social media identity doesn’t contain anything that can be offensive or polarizing. Remember, if you can find it, so can employers and recruiters!

Using LinkedIn to Make a Competition Comparison

Another great way to use LinkedIn is to compare your resume with peers and with people in the jobs that you aspire to. Spend some time researching profiles and getting a good idea how people in your industry mapped their own careers. Use their experience as inspiration for your own career path.

Volunteering Your Time to the Greater Good (and improving skills too!)

In today’s business world, there is an emphasis on giving back to the greater good. If a candidate has existing volunteer experience, this is a huge plus. This is especially true since many corporations encourage their employees to volunteer their time and have well-established programs to ensure this. Also, if this volunteer work expands a candidate’s skill set all the better!

Brush Up on Skills and Read Industry Journals to Stay Current

Self-study is inexpensive and can be done around your daily life. If you are a programmer, take some time to improve your existing language skills or learn others. Stay on top of current developments in your field by using your daily commute to listen to podcasts or read blogs or other trusted online publications if your commute allows it. Not only will this serve as a valuable resource in your current role, but it is excellent preparation for future job interviews.

Establish a Relationship with a Professional Recruiter

For every professional in today’s business world, it’s best to establish a relationship with a professional recruiter. Even if a job search isn’t in the plan in the near term, a recruiter can help prepare a future candidate for when the time comes to consider new opportunities. It’s best to reach out to a recruiter who has experience in your industry and/or job role.

Moving Forward

Staying ahead of other candidates can feel like a full-time job. Spending a little time each day to brush up on skills or stay current with industry news can be a huge help. Also,  teaming up with a professional recruiter can be one of the best strategies for staying ahead of the pack.


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