Often times, we're our biggest supporters and it's important that we advocate for ourselves in all situations. However, it can be really difficult—and frankly exhausting—trying to stand out at work, in an interview, or on a job application. I know first-hand how tough and confusing it can feel; I also totally understand how defeating it can feel when things don't work out like we hope. So, what can we do to sell ourselves and stand out in a meaningful way? Here are a three things I recommend:
1. Build A Portfolio
If you want to grow in your industry, be promoted within the company, or stand out in an interview, develop a strong portfolio. A portfolio will demonstrate your experience and skills in a clear way. Grow your portfolio by practicing for friends or volunteering to create something on a small scale for a brand/small business. This will develop your skills and help you build your craft—whether it's photography, graphic design, videography, social media marketing/management, or something different! For more information on how to build a strong digital portfolio, read one of my recent blog posts; in said article, I provide lots of tips and ideas.
2. Lend A Helping Hand
At work, ask a colleague or your boss if there's anything you can help them with that week. Be clear about your availability, what you feel comfortable helping them with, and what you can accommodate into your schedule so you don't bite off more than you can chew by offering to help. This will help you set boundaries while still be able to assist your coworkers or boss. Offering to help your coworkers or your boss exemplifies how you take initiative to grow and learn on your own. It demonstrates that you are an independent worker than can get sh!t done without always needing direction or guidance. That’s a valuable “soft skill” that will help you stand out just as much as the quantitative results in your performance at work.
In addition, offer to help your friends or family. This could come in many forms. For example, you could offer to babysit your friends' children for the afternoon if they need quiet time to work from home, go to an interview, or run errands. You could offer to walk your family member's dog, which will give them at least 20-30 minutes to focus on another task on their list. If your friend or relative is looking for a new job, keep an eye open for any jobs that you think they'd be suited for; you could offer to review their resume or proofread their cover letter for any basic mistakes like typos.
3. Foster Your Own Growth
Personally, I know how difficult it can be to get experience when it seems like you're constantly rejected from job after job, company after company. it can seem impossible to get experience if no one gives you a chance. By now, you may have heard the phrase: make your own experience. I'll be the first to admit that the idea of making your own experience seems just as impossible as waiting for a job or company to give you a chance. I also think the sentiment—as inspirational as it might sound—is a privilege. Saying "make your own experience" is a lot easier said than done when you factor in that a lot of people don't have the time or resources to do so.
Instead, I like to share my own ideas and tips to help people foster their own growth in small ways. For example, take online classes or certifications on Skillshare, Hubspot, or Google Digital Garage. This will help you learn something totally new or expand your knowledge on a topic that you enjoy. In addition, I recommend building a strong LinkedIn profile. A strong LinkedIn profile is very important as it's an easy to share digital resume. LinkedIn is also a great way to build a personal brand and strong network; you can do this by commenting meaningfully on other people's posts as well as sharing regularly about things you enjoy or topics you're knowledgable about.