Some of the jobs with the most benefits and highest salaries are in competitive industries. This includes careers in entertainment, sports and fashion, among others.
Unfortunately, many young workers make the mistake of overestimating how difficult it is to get a job in a competitive industry. Some normally accessible industries also even have their own competitive components.
Getting a job in a competitive industry requires more work than when you are applying for a more accessible position. These jobs are naturally more intimidating to apply for, but there are ways to make yourself stand out. The following steps can help you step up your application and increase the odds of landing your dream job in 2021.
Understand the Industry
One of the reasons many applicants fail to get their dream job is they do not fully understand the industry. For example, if you want to become an artist, you need more than just a passion for drawing to succeed. A large part of why competitive industries are difficult to break into is the extensive skillsets required.
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Fashion designers do more than make clothing. They also manage supplies, work directly with clients and run extensive advertisements to promote their products. Likewise, journalists are more than good writers. They also know how to get exclusive interviews, perform extensive research and identify stories before they break.
When you apply for one of these jobs, your employer expects you to be good at the primary skill. A job seeker applying for a sports writer position normally would not be applying if he or she did not know anything about sports or writing. However, what makes you stand out is the unique skills you bring to the table.
Asking for Help
Another common mistake job seekers make when looking for competitive jobs is being afraid to ask for help. These job seekers believe asking for help is somehow a sign of weakness. The job you are applying for is competitive because of the skill requirements and the other applicants, not because nobody else wants to see you get the job. Companies who have competitive positions to fill do not want the position to stay empty any longer than necessary.
Many companies prefer to promote from within. When employers hire a new employee, especially for a high-level position, he or she must be trained in company protocol before even being trained for the new position. Whenever possible, companies instead hire internally so the new employee can be trained while still performing his or her old duties and gradually rising to the role. If you let your managers know you are interested in applying for a normally competitive condition, they are likely going to help you get the position you want.
Networking and asking for help often go hand in hand, but there are a few differences. Your professional network refers to more than just your work associates around the office. A professional network is normally made up of:
- Past and present employees, managers and bosses.
- Friends or family members in similar fields.
- Business contacts from social media.
Whenever you hear a competitive job needs luck, what it really means is you need a strong professional network. Your network represents who you know, and the more contacts in your network, the more avenues you have to enter the industry. When you are applying for a competitive field, word-of-mouth from your network often matters more than applying for a traditional job.
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Many jobs in a competitive field are not publicly posted. Due to how competitive the jobs are, hiring managers do not want to open applications and be bombarded by applicants who are not a good fit for the job. Instead, these hiring managers rely on their own professional networks to recommend potential candidates.
Some hiring managers may even hire job consultants to scout potential talent. With a professional network, you increase your odds of getting noticed, especially if your network overlaps with your potential employer. It also gives you more recommendations to use. Having someone in a similar industry to recommend you gives you a large advantage over your competition.
Social Media Matters
In recent years, the requirements for getting a job in a competitive industry have changed. When you apply for a competitive job, you need to bring examples of your skills. Writers bring past samples of published works, artists bring pieces hosted in exhibits or galleries and actors submit a demo reel or show past performances. These are still required, but thanks to social media, job recruiters can and will access more information outside of what you present.
Social media is both a blessing and a curse, depending on how you manage your account. If you are applying for a competitive job, you need to scrub your social media. A common tip is to host two separate accounts. One for your professional life and one for your friends and family. Keep your personal social media account locked down and disconnected from your professional social media profile.
How you use your professional social media may improve the odds of getting a job. No matter what the industry, it helps to have recruiters see you actively use your account to interact with other workers or employers in the industry. Even something as small as joining a Facebook group relating to the industry, and making a few meaningful posts to show you understand the career field improves your odds. It also shows you are actively following the industry, which is especially important for jobs like fashion designer or entertainment journalist.
Some careers gain additional social media boosts. For example, if you have an active YouTube channel and are trying to be an actor, agents are impressed by videos with high view counts or channels with active subscriptions. Likewise, having a strong Instagram presence helps when you apply for any fashion or advertising related job, since you already have an audience.
Having no social media presence is better than having a negative presence, but it does not do you any favors. While it is not a requirement to succeed in a competitive industry, staying off social media means you do not stand out as much as applicants with a healthy online presence.
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