At 5’10”, Kyler Murray will be the shortest quarterback to enter the draft in the history of the National Football League. He might also be the highest drafted player this year.
The Heisman-winning Oklahoma Sooners quarterback was previously drafted to play baseball by the Oakland Athletics last year. These days, drafting a quarterback who is less than 6’2″ would be a risk — unless the player had Murray’s statistics. Despite not looking like many people’s idea of a typical quarterback, Kyler Murray created a demand for his abilities, in part through using success in one area to promote himself in another. We can learn something from that, even if we’re not building a career in professional sports.
The job market can feel as competitive as the NFL draft. Your goal is not just to produce great work, but to get noticed by employers. There are other professionals in your industry who are as productive as you. Some of them may even fit employers’ image of an ideal hire more closely than you do. But you can get hired by creating demand for your work.
1. Earnestly Seek Out Those Who Want Your Work
Use your favorite search engine to find articles written by industry professionals. Follow them on social media to see where they engage with their audience and to find other thought leaders.
You might even find your next job. Recruiters on LinkedIn often announce open positions before they’re advertised. Follow the top 10 recruiters working in your industry and pay attention to the type of candidate they like to hire.
2. Get Your Work in the Hands of Employers
You must know where employers have a presence online to demonstrate your competency. Follow your target employer on Instagram, if they’re there. Use video and pictures to offer a peek into your skills and insight into your thinking.
Note that every social platform has mobile access, and your work needs to be mobile-friendly in order to reach the right audience. The busy executive will likely view your work on a mobile phone.
3. Be Yourself
When it comes down to several equally qualified candidates, employers will pick the person they like the most. Everyone knows the workday is faster when you work alongside people you like. So, be yourself. Asserting your personality in everything you do inspires a positive and lasting impression.
4. Expand Your Horizons and Encourage Collaboration
Show that you can collaborate with a variety of professionals from different backgrounds, time zones and levels of thought using a variety of software and platforms. Future employers and referrals will see that you’re flexible and able to connect with people across multiple channels.
The ability to adapt to different working climates will show your network that you can connect with anyone, anywhere. This kind of global appeal may not appear in the job requirements, but it’s an asset for any potential hire.
5. Invite Constructive Feedback
Entertaining criticism shows your investment in your craft — and that you’re teachable and willing to listen. Show that you can cope with feedback and deliver it with tact. Every job involves a certain amount of conflict; candidates who can handle it make themselves a valuable commodity.
6. Make Yourself Accessible
When you’re easy to find and responsive to inquiries, you save employers time. It’s a clear indicator you’re serious about your professionalism and personal brand. Too many times, people want to be taken seriously, but are rarely consistent in showing up on time online and offline. Value employers’ time (no matter who they are) and they will value yours.
Tell Us What You Think
How do you differentiate yourself from the competition? We want to hear from you. Share your story in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.