How can you stand out in a competitive job market?

Posting date: 21 September 2020

The Swiss job market has historically been very stable, with an unemployment rate of less than 3.5% since October 2019. However, Covid-19 has hit the global job market hard, and Switzerland hasn’t escaped entirely unscathed. According to Reuters, there were 55% more people out of work in June 2020 than there were in 2020, with the novel coronavirus leaving restaurants and tourist enterprises vulnerable. The Swiss scheme to compensate people working shorter hours to avoid mass layoffs has helped to prevent more widespread damage, however, and we are now seeing green shoots in the local job market. The number of open positions registered with employment agencies more than doubled from May to June, and we continue to see exciting new opportunities open up to professionals. But how can job seekers stand out and secure these roles?


Step one: Optimise your LinkedIn

In order to stand out in a crowded marketplace, you must make sure you’re easy to be found. Start by looking at your LinkedIn profile and any other professional networking presence you have. Make sure all your recent and relevant work experience is listed in detail, including job titles, key skills, technologies you’ve worked with and any other keywords that recruiters might use to search for you. Take a LinkedIn skills assessment to demonstrate your abilities and add a Verified Skills badge to your profile – research shows that candidates with verified skills are 30% more likely to be hired. Make sure you’ve got a photo uploaded and a title that reflects what you’re looking for and you’re on your way to getting noticed.


Step two: Network and make connections

Once you’ve polished your online profiles, it’s time to develop your personal brand and do some digital networking. Connect with industry leaders you admire, follow companies and profiles that relate to your sector and don’t be afraid to share your opinions and ideas. You might not quite feel ready to publish your own thought leadership article on LinkedIn, but it’s easy to ask a question of your network or even share a thought-provoking blog. One of the best ways to network online is by joining LinkedIn groups related to your niche – for instance, Life Sciences in Switzerland and Job & Career in Switzerland. And don’t forget to reach out to recruiters and executive search consultants in your industry!


Step three: Overhaul your CV

Once you’ve found roles to apply to, you’ll want to tailor your CV accordingly. Your CV should act as a snapshot of your career and highlight all your key skills and achievements.


Make sure to include any details that might set you apart from another candidate, whether that’s German language skills, recent digital accreditation or success in influencing senior stakeholders. Think of what you’re really proud of and what value you can add in a company, and highlight these in your CV and cover letter. Try to keep your CV to two pages where possible and triple-check it before sending it away, watching out for typos and inconsistencies.


Step four: Apply thoughtfully and carefully

If you’re looking for new opportunities, it can be tempting to simply send the same version of your CV out far and wide to as many places as possible. However, recruiters and hiring managers will know if you’ve not put any effort into your application. Where possible, tailor your CV or cover letter to the role you’re applying for, matching skills and requirements to those from the job ad. This approach can be more time consuming than a ‘send to all’ strategy, but by showing specifically how your experience aligns with the vacancy, you’ll have a higher chance of progression in the application.


Step five: Bring your best self to the interview

Whether it’s a video interview or traditional in-person meeting, getting to this stage is a great sign that the company is interested in you. With that in mind, approach the interview with confidence and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Organisations are increasingly looking for cultural and organisational fit, as well as technical and experiential prowess, so it’s important to be yourself at the interview stage. Try to relax and remember that the interviewer will be looking to sell the position, just like you are trying to demonstrate your value. If it’s a good match, then congratulations! If not, continue the above steps until you find a position that suits you.


Find your next role with Swisslinx

Even in the most competitive job market, our strong industry relationships and understanding our industries means we can offer candidates access to a variety of roles across our recruitment markets. Find out more about being a Swisslinx candidate or view our latest jobs to take your next career step.

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