With universities producing thousands of qualified graduates every year and with a certain scarcity of good positions in the majority of fields, it's safe to say that nearly all jobs nowadays are competitive. Of course, some areas are flourishing more than others, but this hardly means that there is a job for everyone. A diploma and a set of skills are a must, but you need to have something extra in order to get and keep that dream position.
Acquire and polish the skills related to your field of workIt's every employee's task to educate themselves and to keep in touch with current market trends. Employees in different positions are expected to perform well and with next-to-no assistance, so learning how to work with new software, getting better at analyzing data, and maybe brushing up on your school-level French is essential.
You should also remember that skills exist to be used, and it's equally important to make your managers aware of your newly acquired knowledge. It's easier to survive in a competitive environment if you're proactive and don't wait for tasks and instructions to be distributed.
Keep your CV and resumé updatedPlenty of articles have been written on the importance of CVs and resumés, and you surely know the main points by heart. However, we would like to emphasize the importance of a regular CV update. People working in competitive environments rarely have a lot of free time to spend on updating a CV that hasn't been reviewed for years, so add new information the moment you have it.
Join professional associationsSometimes it's worth paying the membership in order to get the necessary credentials. Besides, professional associations provide an excellent environment for effective networking as well as for job seeking. Competitive jobs require trustworthy employees, established within the industry, and professional associations are the best place to seek them.
Build healthy relationships at workCompetition can drive people mad, but those who compete decently are winners in the long term. It's worth maintaining friendly and polite relationships with all of your colleagues, not just managerial staff. One's reputation can be a key factor in business decision-making, so it's better to work on it continuously.
And just one more thing to keep in mind – staying focused on your job doesn't mean you aren't allowed to have a life outside the office. On the contrary, it's necessary to give yourself regular breaks in order to recharge your batteries and avoid burnout. Preserving a work-life balance does help to climb the career ladder - perhaps at a more steady pace, but with fewer risks.