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In the current job market, it’s about showing what extra skills you can bring alongside those that companies ask for in their job ads.

1. Straight talking
85% of employers rank ‘communication’ as a top five requirement according to Randstad Technologies consultants.

“Key to the majority of essential IT hires is for candidates to have the ability to communicate effectively across all levels of the business, not only within technical teams but also with business users to board level” says Jamie Sears, Operations Manager at Randstad Technologies London

To impress an employer, gather examples of how you've done this in your current or previous roles, keep a file of them to discuss either at interview or appraisal time. Ensure your examples cover the SAY points though: Situation, your Action and the Yield (results) - as this frames your achievements, putting your experience in context.

Meet people face to face too. It builds rapport as well as confidence in today’s text and email-obsessed world. And don’t forget how important the small things are, CVs are often riddled with grammatical mistakes and inconsistencies.

2. Work smarter, not longer
Smarter working has replaced the long-hours culture, thanks to Generation Y, which values a healthy work-life balance. Demonstrating that the hours you put in add real value to your organisations will impress.

Show you have a good work ethic – This was a top five requirement of over 75% of employers Randstad consultants speak to regularly.  

This is no longer measured in hours. It’s about demonstrating passion, pride and commitment. Set goals with your manager, establish challenges that show them you want to go that extra mile and communicate that positive approach again and again.

3. Make decisions
While mavericks aren't popular in the workplace, it isn't always best to wait for instruction. Think logically, take initiative and make considered decisions. 50% of employers identify that candidates often don’t demonstrate this type of common sense.

Steve Beaver, Senior Consultant at Randstad Technologies, says “Using initiative in situations and working quickly to solve problems is a really attractive attribute for any candidate to have, proving this at an interview stage really can deliver that new job”

Show that you can. Gather information, consult colleagues, draw swift conclusions and then communicate your findings upwards. This shows your ability to take initiative and think on your feet in sometimes unfamiliar or fast-moving situations.

And being able to talk about these experiences gives potential recruiters an insight into your working style, career highlights and important lessons you've learnt.

4. Focus on the needs of the target audience“Whatever the role, work to put the customer first. Without them, there is no business,” says Mike Beresford, Managing Director of Randstad Technologies.

New recruits and employees often forget this, yet target audience focus is crucial. Put yourself in their shoes and consider what they truly want. Tailor your language and manner appropriately, and listen to them.

Some of the famous-name companies that recently went out of business hadn't moved with audience demand. Play a role in changing this. Pull together information on your audience that will help improve the service offering or delivery, for example. Come up with ideas that will boost the business or the bottom line.

5. Embrace the big picture
Understanding how your role fits into the organisation’s overall goals is more important than ever. Yet research by communication consultants Synopsis found that only half of all employees knew their organisation’s vision.

Show you’re different by researching the company you’re interviewing and talking to your potential manager about how to make a greater impact on the business.

For the best results, continue to embrace the bigger picture long-term. Consult with your team and department regularly and contribute to inter-departmental and company-wide business projects. 

You will gain a higher profile within the company and are more likely to climb the ladder.