Below is a step-by-step guide to help land a better job in 2016, as suggested by careers experts at Bayt.com:
Explore your values
Determining what really matters early on will save a lot of headache and heartache later. Put everything on the table here. Start by asking yourself what truly matters and ranking everything that matters to you in order of importance.
The list may be long or short and will be very different and unique for each person, but it is important that you reflect on the things that constitute your priorities in life.
You may find on that list items as varied as a short commute, time with family, a boss you can talk to, a team you can learn from, a brand to be proud of, ongoing training and development, job security, a good salary, etc.
The Bayt.com poll on work-life balance in the Middle East, for example, has revealed that 65 percent of professional respondents in the region would accept a pay cut for more free time on their job, with 36 percent of them preferring to spend this free time with family.
Explore your interests
You can ask yourself what it is you would like to do. What is your passion? What do you really look forward to? Whatever it is you love to do, do not consider it unimportant; and if you think that you do not do it well because you have not studied it, remember that it is never too late to learn.
It also helps to close your eyes and envision yourself where you want to be in a few years or a few months. Bayt.com recently launched `What’s Your Story’, a campaign to encourage people to share their stories and dreams.
Personal stories of acclaimed Arabic bands Tarab 3al 7atab and Sons of Yusuf were uncovered and viewed by millions to inspire creativity, hard work and the pursuit of happiness and success. So, do not be afraid to dream big and think outside the box as you map your interests and aspirations to every possible career.
Identify skills and strengths
On the excellence scale, you will probably have some highly developed skills and others you consider yourself low on. Come to terms with all of them as the current job market is all about transferable skills rather than exact-fit pedigrees.
The Bayt.com Middle East Job Index Survey, August 2015, shows that when it comes to skills in demand, employers in the Middle East are looking for candidates who have good communication skills (63 percent), can work under pressure (49 percent), and who are team players (48 percent).
In terms of experience, these same employers seek candidates who have the ability to manage a team (40 percent) and possess good computer skills (31 percent). In fact, paradigm career shifts are becoming as common as narrow linear career moves but you need to know what your skills are and how to package them for where you want to go.
And remember, it is not just those hard-earned technical skills you acquire in college that will serve you well, but also soft skills and your ability to lead, motivate and engage with people.
Be ready to train and retrain
Training and retraining need not take you away from the workplace for any extended period of time unless you want it to, as you can pursue a learning programme while working.
Whatever gaps you identified between your skill sets and interests can be filled with a very diligent programme of study, be it self-learning or a course or an all-out new degree. In today’s workplace, learning new skills is very much adopted as a lifelong commitment.
According to the Bayt.com poll on skills and hiring trends in the Middle East, January 2015, 73 percent of respondents had expected an increase in investments made in training throughout 2015.
Do your research
This can involve a lot of reading about industries and companies you are targeting as well as actual job roles and career paths, but it need not stop there. Talk to people who work in your field of interest and get a feel for what a day in their life looks like and how the role resonates with your skills, interests and values.
You can also ask for an informational interview to visit the company you are eyeing and get a feel for it and after the interview, ask for a tour of the office.
Speak to people who work there and people who used to. Find out what people like most and least about the job role, the career and the company as you plan your own career move. Make sure that the job and company sit well with your life goals and interests and do not disagree with any of your values.
Optimise your CV
Your CV is often the only document you have to promote yourself to a potential employer. It is your chance to make a good impression as even if you have all the credentials in the world, a poorly written CV will not make the cut.
A well-constructed CV, on the other hand, could land you that dream job or help you move up the career ladder. You can start by tailoring your career objective so it matches what the company is looking for. Use the keywords that employers have put in the job description.
Depending on the job role, you should state how many years of experience you have accumulated. Actually, 25 percent of employers in the Middle East region say that experience is the most important part in a CV, as revealed in the Bayt.com poll on modern job search in the Middle East, November 2013.
Be active online
The Bayt.com poll on social recruiting in the Middle East and North Africa released in October 2014 revealed that 82 percent of employers in the region research a candidate online before calling them in for an interview.
Employers use the Internet to advertise their jobs, source senior executives, but also research candidates before hiring them. Online job sites have revolutionised the recruitment landscape for both employers and job seekers and have largely increased the efficiency with which hiring decisions can take place. The best way to make use of this new trend is to build a public profile.
Whatever your self-analysis shows you, you are fully empowered to take the steps you need to try to bridge the gaps. Remember, if you lack the required knowhow or assertiveness, you can get coaching and support from a capable friend, coach or professional advisor.
The most important thing to realise is that you are in full control of your career and that those gaps you have identified are only dreams waiting to be realised in the year and years to come.