Webinars have been around for a while and their popularity only continues to grow. In fact, this effective marketing tool is poised to approach $1 billion in the next decade.  And yet, webinars aren’t always treated with the attention they deserve. Sometimes they come across as overly scripted or just plain boring. So, the challenge for those looking to host a webinar becomes, how do you make your presentation more engaging, personalised and interactive? Here’s everything you need to know about creating a webinar.

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I was honored to interview Rania Hoteit the CEO of ID4A Technologies, which was named Best Entrepreneurial Company in America” by Entrepreneur magazine.

She has an impressive bio including being “an award-winning serial entrepreneur” with “recognition from the White House”. She was also among “55 global leaders to speak at the United Nations Global People’s Summit during the UN General Assembly”.

I have been following her work for a few months and am continually amazed by the example that she is setting in her leadership for women across the world. She was generous enough with her time to share with us about leadership, success, and how we can empower the next generation of women.

How do you personally measure success?

I personally measure success by the levels of self-realization, actualisation, and development. When you have the deepest level of understanding yourself, the highest level of desire to achieve your greatest potential in life, and the highest level of commitment to growth, then you seek experiences and knowledge, challenge your mind and beliefs, learn new skills, implement and constantly strive for the next level of awareness, competence, and achievement. That’s how real success is made.

Whether someone fails or succeeds can only be truly measured against one’s greatest potential and ability to actualise it. It’s not about who others are, what others do and achieve for themselves, or what society’s expectations and definitions are. I don’t judge myself according to anyone’s definitions of anything, let alone my success. I create my own standards to follow and measure my progress in the ways that are meaningful to me. I envision my own dreams, then I set strategies and practical plans to reach them. My goals are not rooted in ego, nor are they driven by external influences and symbols such as money, recognition, status or anything that requires validation from others.

I don’t judge myself according to anyone’s definitions of anything, let alone my success. I create my own standards to follow and measure my progress in the ways that are meaningful to me.

Even though this happens to be an added outcome; they’ve never been my sole motivators. Before I take major actions, I evaluate my true motivations to ensure that I am creating intrinsic goals that are centered around my personal growth, inner fulfillment, and alignment with my identity, vision, passion, and purpose, all while adding value and making a difference in other people’s lives. 

It’s very easy to set extrinsic goals and slip into disillusionment by what defines success and how to achieve it. When you depend on external symbols or try to be like someone else, you’re already taking the wrong motivational path, and you have no ‘real’ metrics to measure your own success. Real success can only be achieved when you follow what is true for you. Because as soon as these symbols dissolve or get replaced by new ones, you become irrelevant along with everything you built on this faulty basis. That’s one big lie of a life. It’s very important to recognize this early on to live with integrity and have a fulfilling human experience in the long run.

What leadership advice can you give to those who aspire to be leaders in the future?

For those who aspire to lead in the future, it’s important to understand that becoming a leader is not a “job”. Not every individual who starts a business or holds a managerial or authoritative position of some kind is a great leader. Becoming a great leader is a rigorous and continuous process of self-development and growth that you must commit. Successful leadership is also about influence and the willingness of people to adopt your vision and follow your lead.

You must have a sharp character and clear vision, along with a broad set of practical, intellectual, social, and communication skills in order to create such influence and assert great leadership. But you can’t lead others when you are not sure who you are yourself and when you lack the competence. Start with defining your unique identity, motivations, values, beliefs, strengths, goals and vision for the future, and how can you improve on weaknesses and learn new skills to become the best version of yourself.

…you can’t develop a wider set of leadership skills or broaden your capacity if your practical experiences are not varying or if you continue to do the work that you are already good at.

As a leader, your development will mainly occur through learning and extracting insights from day-to-day practical experiences and responsibilities, and applying this knowledge to the next phase. But you can’t develop a wider set of leadership skills or broaden your capacity if your practical experiences are not varying or if you continue to do the work that you are already good at.

Push yourself to consciously step into new roles, activities, and situations that test your abilities and challenge your mindset and beliefs. Never lose enthusiasm in the face of challenges. Be curious to explore fresh approaches and perspectives. Never stop learning. Have a winning spirit. That’s the only way you can successfully take on higher levels of risks and reach leadership excellence.

How can we best empower this next generation of women?

Women face more complex consideration sets and societal pressures throughout their lives, in addition to gender barriers that are still contributing to increased disparities on many levels. To best empower the next generation, we have to make radical changes to alleviate pressures and dissolve all barriers across all areas of society. From a very young age, girls can be surrounded by expectations that are destructive to their self-worth due to all kinds of implied undercurrents that are embodied by traditional gender stereotypes related to their intelligence, stamina, appearance, courage, strength, and even careers or paths for success that they are expected to conform to.

It is crucial to nurture self-confidence in girls from an early age by encouraging them to develop independence of mind, to express themselves freely and debate their views openly, to stand up for themselves, and enjoy challenges. Positive cooperation and partnership with men is also key to the transformation, along with having more female role models from different social and professional spheres for the younger generations of women to lean on and be inspired by.

We also have to examine the current social climate and state of the economy, and what women will still face in the future if gender barriers remain unresolved. Based on the latest Global Gender Report issued by the World Economic Forum, the gap between the achievements and well-being of men and women widened in the past year. The data estimates that at the current rates, it will take 100 years before women achieve equality in political empowerment, economic participation, health, and education.

Economic data on gender imbalance also revealed that women’s numbers are not at parity in leadership in any industry, hiring women hasn’t increased along with the number of women earning degrees in areas such as technology and manufacturing given that a large proportion of women are choosing not to go into those fields. And I can speak from my position being in both industries, technology and manufacturing, and one of the world’s few women leaders in these male-dominated fields who refused to accommodate gender role stereotypes. My experience has been full of challenges and obstacles since I started my career and entrepreneurial journey over 10 years ago.

…we need to take the responsibility of creating entire organizational structures and cultures to support women’s advancement in leadership within companies to ensure that they have the best chances to do so.

Breaking through gender barriers and biases turned into a full-time sport, especially in the early stages of growing my business and establishing my thought leadership. Yet staying the course and forging ahead full force have also been incredibly rewarding because I was determined to build a successful business and an impactful brand, and was unapologetically ambitious when it comes to achieving my own goals.

Ultimately, if we can teach girls the courage to break their own stereotypes, and the value of developing her own independence, sense of identity and definition of success, then our next generation of women will be empowered with self-confidence, resilience, and adaptability to navigate new paths, seize opportunities, and to become leaders and shapers in our societies who enable the same sense of meaning and purpose, not only for other women and girls, but for everyone around them, regardless of gender.  

At the same time, we have to facilitate their advancement and success by integrating them fairly and efficiently in the global economy. Talented, driven and intelligent women deserve opportunities to lead, and societies do need their leadership in order to thrive. Therefore, we need to take the responsibility of creating entire organizational structures and cultures to support women’s advancement in leadership within companies to ensure that they have the best chances to do so.

In your opinion what is one of the most valuable skills a leader can possess, that most struggle to develop?

Leadership is both an art form and a science and requires creativity as well as knowledge of human psychology to establish healthy and productive connections amongst people and with them. The problem is that most leaders emphasise developing their visionary, practical and strategic thinking skills, and often fail to master interpersonal skills and struggle to effectively interact, communicate, listen, and empathize with others.

While empathy has a major impact on the ultimate success or failure in leadership because it builds character traits of trustworthiness, relatedness, respectfulness, caring, and fairness. It’s the most critical driver of any leader’s overall performance. We’ve seen many examples in recent years of leaders who raised to fame due to their great business schemes, while their people’s leadership failures were ignored. When leaders have the ability to empathize, not only do they only involve and engage their people more effectively, but they also lead their teams and organizations to the most business growth and highest levels of innovation.

Empathy isn’t only fundamental to elevating the quality of human interactions at a societal level, but it’s also critical for business growth and leadership success.

There is plenty of substantial evidence on the correlation between empathy and performance. If we look at the companies that were top rated on the Global Empathy Index, including Microsoft, Facebook, Tesla, and Google, we see that they’re generating 50% more earnings per employee than those at the bottom. Empathy isn’t only fundamental to elevating the quality of human interactions at a societal level, but it’s also critical for business growth and leadership success.

Would you share with us an example of a challenge that you have faced in leading and how you overcame it?

Becoming a boss who is leading a global company and initiatives was an extremely demanding adjustment. Specially that I defied conventions and took the risk of launching global operations and partnerships from the beginning stages of the business. Most entrepreneurs focus on local growth before they consider entering international markets. I did the exact opposite; which proved to be a winning strategy for us. But the process was a major learning curve that came with many demands, and expedited personal growth and leadership skills development. Within one year, I went from managing 2 people to leading collaborations and negotiations between teams, clients, partners, sponsors, investors, suppliers, manufacturers, and other organizations around the world, and these interactions got highly complex over time.

My character and leadership abilities were being tested at every level so I really had to adapt, learn and implement very fast. The key challenge that I faced within my organization and with external partnerships as we started to grow, was managing the diversity of disciplines and the differences in cultural backgrounds; both equally significant in localized and in cross-border negotiations and collaborations because they heavily influence how people operate, interact, view their roles as individuals or within a group, as well as their attitudes towards the importance of time and building relationships.

Decision-making processes were also very arduous as a result; not just in terms of technicalities but also in terms of behaviors and core beliefs. Overall, it took numerous failures, and a lot of strategy and mastery to build a robust infrastructure to effectively lead my team, manage our clients and affiliates in different parts of the world, and adapt to all differences in processes, disciplines and cultures to accomplish such complex collaborations successfully.

Today, ID4A Technologies is a trusted global company that is innovating at the cutting-edge of design technology and recognized as one of the best entrepreneurial companies for mastering leadership, innovation, impact and growth, and for fostering the development of advanced manufacturing in the United States, and the world.

What is the best way to introduce innovative ideas to a team that is stuck in an old method?

It really depends on the larger context within which ideas are being introduced, what methods are we referring to, and what is one’s position in relation to the team. In general, any time you are introducing a new idea, you are creating change. Supposing that being “stuck in an old method”, the context is a traditional corporate environment. In such cultures that are not innovation-driven, big ideas are more likely to be perceived as risky propositions than as potentially rewarding opportunities. Hence, you must be strategic and have the conviction to successfully introduce innovations into your organization and get your ideas to be understood and implemented by your team.

The best way to start the proposal process is:

1. Align your innovative ideas with the leadership’s vision and goals

2. Combine multiple communication tools and skills by creating appealing visualizations and analytical frameworks to convey the value of change and its transformative potential. Also, navigate through negotiations to influence your team and other key decision makers in the direction of your goals.

To what or who do you attribute your success?

As I reflect on where I am today with my life and career, I can’t possibly attribute my success to a single factor but rather to many qualities, talents, and skills along with conscious efforts and genuine desire to constantly learn, evolve, implement and succeed.  At a core level, my integrity, optimism, independence, initiative, resilience, creativity, strong self belief, determination and devotion to reach personal excellence have been vital for my success, and gave me the courage to fight, bounce back from many failures, setbacks and disappointments to refocus on my goals, win and strive harder.

I also attribute my success to the haters, naysayers, deprecators, and rivals who put me down and tried to sabotage my efforts along the way.

In tandem with innate characteristics, mastering communication skills, public relations, passion for quality, innovative problem solving, effective leadership skills, collaboration, and successful team and partnerships building, as well as my commitment to help others, all were critical drivers for the global growth of my entrepreneurial and social impact initiatives, and the and expansion of my influence as an industry innovator and thought leader.

I also attribute my success to the haters, naysayers, deprecators, and rivals who put me down and tried to sabotage my efforts along the way. Those who didn’t support me are the ones who made me stronger. On another note, maintaining a sense of humility and humbleness is key to continuous growth and ultimate success. It’s the acceptance to learn more, to seek farther and reach higher, and remain open to all the knowledge that is yet to be discovered. For me, I always remind myself that I am only at the beginnings of what I know and what I ultimately want to achieve, and this fuels my ambition, drive, and curiosity. There is so much more work to do, and more growth and success to look forward to in the future.

What do you do personally to grow as a leader?

The richest source of growth and learning in my life have been real-life challenging experiences and problems. I take a proactive approach to seek out challenges and activities that provide me opportunities to develop new repertoires of skills to improve on weaknesses and practice new behaviors. It’s an intentional, gradual and continuous process that I am absolutely committed to, and I make it a priority to step into new situations that test my abilities to be effective in a wide variety of leadership roles.

I re-examine my responsibilities thoroughly as I expand on my vision further, structure new plans, and strategize to reach new goals, in order to identify what new competencies I have to master to successfully take on higher levels of risks, and what changes I need to make to enhance my leadership skills so I can manage these new responsibilities efficiently.

Specifically, with the work that I do, I have to stay on the lookout for new ideas to stay ahead and maintain constant, ongoing innovation. We are constantly faced with open-ended questions and complex problems with many variables to be calculated and accounted for, and frequent experimentations and failures, so resilience and agility are critical skills for us. We have to fail fast, learn even faster, and find solutions really fast as well.

As a leader, I work very diligently to build enabling strategies that cultivate these skills and create a positive atmosphere to boost idea generation, innovative problem solving and creativity both at an individual and at an organizational level within my team.

What is one mindset shift that needs to take place to be the most effective in leading change? 

Years ago I read The Prince, a political treatise by Niccolo Machiavelli in which he wrote: ”There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” And this statement can’t be any more relevant. The one mindset shift that needs to take place is to step away from the control and the hands-on approaches and assume a leadership role. Whether the objective is to create change in society, industry or within an organization, it’s critical to realize that the path forward doesn’t revolve around “I” but rather around “We”.

One visionary leader can have tremendous individual power to bring awareness and initiate movements. However, real change at a scale of significance can only occur when you harness the collective into decision-making and engage others to actively participate in the service of a greater purpose.

…real change at a scale of significance can only occur when you harness the collective into decision-making and engage others to actively participate in the service of a greater purpose.

Hence, your effectiveness in leading change will be determined by your success to turn strangers into passionate believers, inspired supporters and empowered individuals who will participate in bringing your vision to life and making the change happen. The focus needs to shift from being at the center of it all on your own to becoming the power source that drives other people by providing energy, direction, vision, inspiration, motivation, and a system to follow; which fundamentally requires your communication mindset to shift as well.

You need to develop the ability to clearly communicate your goals, expectations, expertise, knowledge, and instructions in ways that are pragmatic and practical, yet articulated in the language of an idealist and visionary leader who inspires action and mobilizes people from deep within.


Rania Hoteit is the CEO of ID4A Technologies which was named “Best Entrepreneurial Company in America” by Entrepreneur magazine under her leadership. ID4A Technologies is a global design technology specialized in the design and development of platform solutions that leverage exponential technologies such as Ai, 3D printing, machine vision, and industrial robots to build manufacturing automation software for robotic technologies. Rania is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, an expert judge on global startup competitions, international speaker, advisor, author and social impact leader in gender equality, women empowerment, education and industry innovation with multiple recognitions from the White House, and other awards.


Dr. Anne Rios of The Centenary Institute is a woman with an innate passion for research. She wanted to translate this passion in a subject that touched her and couldn’t ignore the staggering Australian breast cancer statistics. She is developing a new 3D imaging technique that allows scientists to visualise entire breast tissues down to a single-cell level. The beauty of the invention is its non-invasive nature, and its ability to keep breast tissue intact for the 1 in 8 women diagnosed with breast cancer.

What’s more impressive is that she is the only researcher in Australia and one of the few in the world who is working on this, and last year she won the Centenary Institute Medical Innovation Award. We sat down with her to discuss how she discovered her passion, and the amazing things she’s achieved with her research.

How did you discover your passion for research? Did anyone inspire you, were there any events along the way that made you realise this was what you wanted to do?

I have always been artistic in my life and creativity is very important to me. I remember looking under the microscope during my first internship and thinking this is what I want to do with my life: combine both art and science. I settled on biology because there is so much to discover including how cells organise and communicate with each other to build organs and complex organisms like us – it’s magic!

I have the chance to express my personality into my work and I feel very blessed for it.

When I started my scientific career I wanted to combine my passions to visualise the behaviour of cells in physiological condition but also during cancer. This is how I decided to develop this 3D imaging technology that allows you to immerse into the cellular architecture of entire organ in 3D. I have the chance to express my personality into my work and I feel very blessed for it.

Why does breast cancer research mean so much to you? 

I am a woman and women’s health is an important cause for me, it is my fight! My research is my way of helping other women and standing for all of us.

What are some personal and professional challenges you faced along the way, and how did you overcome each of them? 

Professional: To remain at the leading edge of science! For that, you have to push yourself constantly, you cannot just be happy with what you achieved, you have to think two steps ahead. Predict your future achievement, bet on it and fight for it without knowing if it is going to be successful. You have to believe in your ideas and that they will bring you closer to your goals, which in my case is to gain a better understanding of how breast cancer develops to offer potential avenues for new treatments.

Predict your future achievement, bet on it and fight for it without knowing if it is going to be successful.

Personal: What is challenging is to find a balance between work and personal life, and I am not quite there yet… I am so excited by what I am doing that it is difficult to switch off. It is something that I am aware of and I am trying to work on because at some stage I want to start a family and I know that I will have to adapt my work rhythm to give a lot of space for that. I think it is one of the major issues women are facing in our generation, finding this balance.

Were there any times you had doubts while working on the new imaging technique?

I never had doubts, I always believe! But honestly, it was so exciting to develop this technique that I cannot recall any doubts. I am a very positive person so when I am faced with a problem or challenge, first I relativize and then push through or find another way!

What is the impact of this technique on those who have breast cancer, or are at risk?

To deliver the most effective therapy to treat women with breast cancer, clinicians rely on standardised prognosis protocols based on histopathology assays. One of the drawbacks of this assay is that they are performed on only a small section of the biopsy that does not necessarily reflect the overall composition of the entire tumour. In addition, this technique allows the detection of only one biomarker at the time.

We have developed a novel sample preparation for intact human biopsies and combined this with 3D microscopic technologies to unveil the 3D architecture of entire tumours, while simultaneously detecting multiple biomarkers. This technology provides us with an unprecedented view of the complex cellular composition of tumours!

However, this is a very novel imaging technique that is still yet to reach its full potential within medical research. Developing this innovative 3D visualisation technique for clinical research is my next challenge, and I believe that this technology could not only provide a better understanding of breast cancer progression, but also reveal new predictive tools to assist clinicians’ choice for designing personalised treatment strategies.

What would you say to girls who are in, or who are considering going into STEM fields?

Dream big, be yourself and don’t overthink the consequences!


From a background in advertising and law, Jodie Fox now applies her communication savvy and sense of style to her true passion: outfitting women around the world in beautiful shoes via Shoes of Prey.  In case you’ve not heard of Shoes of Prey, it’s a unique way of designing your perfect shoe – ideal for women who want to either add their own flair to their footwear, and also acts as a veritable lifesaver for women who can’t find the height they want in their shoes from traditional bricks-and-mortar retail outlets.

Jodie’s role in the business encompasses product development, public relations and being the global face of the brand. Her work on Shoes of Prey has been well recognised, including receiving the national Telstra Business Women’s Awards Winner (Australia), Hudson Private & Corporate Sector, 2014 Top 30 most influential women in Australian retail, 2014 Top 10 Australian female entrepreneurs and 2015’s top 8 entrepreneurs to watch.  Jodie gives us the lowdown on what it took to make Shoes of Prey what it is today, and tips for budding fashionista entrepreneurs.

Jodie-Fox-Shoes-of-Prey-Leaders-in-HeelsI turned my passion into my business

I’m a lawyer by trade and started out working at Blake Dawson (now Ashurst), where I worked with amazing people and teachers. But, I soon came to realise that my heart just wasn’t in it. The longer I was there, the sadder I became. It’s the first time that I realised how important it is to fill your life up with things you truly love.

When I fully came to terms with this, I made a list of things that would make me happy. Not in career, but in my whole life. Then I began to really grill everyone in my life about his or her industry. What did they do day-to-day? What did they love? What did they hate? What did they imagine happening in the future?

I took those answers and looked at them beside my list. The career that came out on top was advertising, so I went and learnt about building a brand, before deciding to build one of my own.

Coming up with a great business idea comes from solving a problem that you are experiencing. We knew we were on to something when we came up with Shoes of Prey, but we had to ask ourselves three key questions that every business should consider before starting out:

  1. Is it something people would pay for?
  2. Are there lots of people that would pay for it? More than once?
  3. Is it possible to see a return on initial investment?

The inspiration …

I was solving a problem of my own. I didn’t love shoes until I could design them myself – and then I absolutely loved being able to pick and choose every aspect of my shoes. I loved deciding on the leather, the heel height, the shape. It was so much fun. And, when the shoes arrived, they were like nothing else available. It was awesome. My girlfriends asked where the shoes came from, and if I would commission their designs too, which I did.

… And the co-founders who believed in the idea

I wouldn’t have thought to turn it into a business had it not been for my two co-founders Mike Knapp and Michael Fox. They were both working at Google and were really excited about the potential of online retail. They just needed a great idea…. And designing your own shoes online was it. That is how Shoes of Prey was born.

Educating the public

In the beginning it was a huge battle to get other people to understand what it was we were doing – The education we had to give was huge. We also had to build our reputations from scratch – who were these three twenty somethings building a totally pie-in-the-sky idea?

We overcame this through perseverance. Shoes of Prey broke even after two months of business, so we were quickly able to prove the demand for the service we were providing.

The inevitable growth

I’ve loved seeing the growth of the company over the past eight years. We started out as a team of three, working from my one bedroom apartment in Sydney – since then we’ve become a team of 150 people with offices in Australia, Tokyo, Manila, LA, New York and China. I’m so proud of how far we’ve come and where we can go from here.

And the personal growth, too

The personal journey has surprised me the most about running my own business.  I assume this is similar for all entrepreneurs simply because starting your own business demands everything from you. I could never have understood or expected the way it would shape me.

The best part of the job

I’m lucky because my job takes me around the world, where I meet different and inspiring people every day. While it’s sometimes difficult to travel as much as I do, I never take for granted that I’m getting to do a job that I am passionate about and love.

The perks of being a Shoe Queen

I’m lucky to work with shoes everyday, but it means that I do have a huge number of them! Because I generally wear monochrome colours, I like to try and add a pop of colour or texture with my shoes. I’d decide my style as classic with edge. At the moment I am loving pointy-flats. They are so comfortable and easy to wear, but stylish and go with everything.

If I had to pick one or two of my favourite heels, I do love a dark, textured heel, it adds a bit of personality to an otherwise serious look. Otherwise, I’ll go for something fun like our Carla shoe (which we created in collaboration with Australian fashion legend, Carla Zampatti) – a gorgeous pink silk heel that is perfect for a dinner date to a night out with the girls.

Favourite Aussie designer

I love Australian designers. My wardrobe is dominated by them, including Dion Lee, Bianca Spender, Ellery, We are Handsome and Carla Zampatti.

Advice for new entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur, there aren’t courses or training that can provide the lessons you learn from just getting in and getting it done. Don’t wait until you are ready – do everything before you are ready. Don’t let your expertise – or lack thereof – get in the way of a really good idea.

Finally, my 3 key pieces of advice:

  1. The words I live by are ‘do everything before you are ready’. Don’t wait or hesitate.
  2. Have confidence in your business idea and yourself.
  3. Do what you love.

Thanks Jodie for sharing your insights with us!

All images via Shoes of Prey

 

 


We’ve all been there, you’ve searched through dozens of job ads, spent hours writing your resume and sent off tens of applications with hope and crossed fingers. We all know competition is tough, so when we didn’t get the interview, we often say things like: ‘I didn’t have enough experience‘, ‘I should have applied quicker’ or ‘I just wasn’t lucky.’

What we need to understand is that landing that coveted interview has little to do with your experience, being the first to apply or luck. So when those interview invitations are still eluding you, then you are probably making one of these mistakes.

  1. Your resume doesn’t show enough relevance

So it’s time to own up, have you applied for different jobs using the same resume? Hiring managers and recruiters can tell instantly when you haven’t taken the time to customise your resume and cover letter to their job. Not only will this annoy them, your resume will fail to answer their question ‘How is this person a fit for this job’? Customising is your chance to answer this and stand out from the crowd.

The key to writing a resume that gets noticed, is making it relevant to what the employer wants. Show them you have done your homework and matched what they want, to what you can offer. Use their job ad and give examples from your work and life experience that show direct relevance to what they want and how you have solved problems like theirs before. On average, a hiring manager will spend seven seconds reviewing a resume. So that means you need to show them how you are the solution to their problem in the top half of the first page so they feel compelled to keep reading your resume.

  1. You thought being qualified was enough

I say this with kindness and I realise this may be hard to hear but just having the requested qualifications for a position is no longer enough to get you a job offer, let alone an interview. The fact is, you may be qualified as an accountant, project manager or teacher but so are many, many other people. To stand out from the throng of qualified job seekers you must know what is different and better about you from the competition. The ability to sell yourself will not bring you far, as experienced hiring managers and recruiters can spot selling a mile away and will be turned off.

Take the time to define what it is that makes you different from the competition – is it your experience, your approach, your industry or niche, or the specific problem you can solve. After all, if you can’t explain what is unique about you, then a potential employer won’t know either.

  1. You are using the least effective method to job search

Your average person spends 90% of their job search time scouring the internet and applying for jobs online, however as little as 5 per cent of jobs are actually filled through formal applications. Studies have shown 60 to 80 per cent of jobs are never advertised. So what you need to understand is how the average person searches for a job is not how employers prefer to source their employees. An employer’s first preference is always to hire internally. This means they will look to promote or move people within their organisation. The second preference is via referrals – this could be through a current or past employee, or a trusted contact. Referral candidates are 5 times more likely to get offered the job. It is only when these two preferences are unsuccessful or tapped out, that they will move outside of the organisation and network and start looking in the public domain. This might mean posting a job on their website, a job board or with a recruiter.

The reason why employers prefer to fill positions with internal candidates or referrals is simple: they save money, time and effort. It is also widely accepted that these hires are a less risky choice. After two years, 45 per cent of referral hires are retained, as opposed to only 20 per cent of those hired from job boards.

If you agree to be judged on your past – send your resume. If you want to be judged on your future potential – get a referral.

To make the most out of your job search time get a referral. Start by targeting a company not a specific job ad. Research their major challenges, projects, vision and company culture. Do your homework to determine your fit – how is what you can offer relevant to what they want? In other words, show how you can solve their problems or assist them reach their goals. Then find the person who has the power to help you or hire you. Identify who this person is, either by name or job title, then work backwards to figure out who can help you connect with them. Take the plunge and connect with them. The way you network can broaden your opportunities; the way you connect with people establishes trust and makes you memorable. They will go out on a limb for you, even if they don’t know you well, when they believe you would be an asset to their company, client or friend or that you will make them look good for referring you.

Christy Frank is the internationally published author of Stand Out & Succeed: Discover your passion, accelerate your career and become recession-proof. As a Career Strategist she helps professionals, freelancers and graduates take their career to the next level. www.christyfrank.com