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The best time to consider your marketability is before you are in the position of looking for a job.  Make it a regular, ongoing activity, and you’ll be well set when the moment to move arrives.  
  • Watch job boards, classified ads and the business section to stay on top of what skills are being asked for, and whether the market in your area is getting hotter or cooler. 
  • Join professional organizations or online groups that will help you stay in touch with your colleagues and their experiences looking for work. 
  • Upgrade/expand your skills whenever you can.  Read books, take courses, ask to help out on projects that involve a subject you want to know more about. 
  • Check out the many free or low-cost tutorials available on the Internet; search on “Subjectname Tutorial” to see what you can find.  Not only do you increase the number of tools in your toolkit, you also demonstrate to employers that you are keen to keep learning.
  • Don’t be intimidated when a job description gives a long list of “desired” qualifications.  Unless the qualification is totally essential for doing the job, it may be that the employer is describing the ideal, perfect candidate.  Since perfection is often hard to come by, be prepared to describe why you can still do the job well with your not-quite-perfect qualifications.
  • If you have a particular skill, but don’t have any job experience that shows it yet, consider doing a “freebie” project for a non-profit organization, to show prospective employers what you can do.
  • Learn as much as you can about subject areas and technologies that are used by the people who interact with you on the job.  If you can “wear many hats”, you will be more valuable in situations where resources are scarce.
  • Also consider crossing boundaries into knowledge areas that are further removed from your area of specialty.  People with multiple “core skills” are rare, and often very much in demand.
  • When you have job interviews, ask interviewers to give feedback on your qualifications – what do you have that they like to see, what would they like to see added to your skill arsenal, what skills are they having the hardest time recruiting for?  Likewise, a recruiter at your search firm can give good feedback on current market trends and where you stand in the current employment climate.
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