Changing jobs is tough. Leaving the devil you know for a devil you don’t know has always been stressful. In these uncertain times, most folks won’t jump unless pushed. Whether you’ve been forced to job-hunt or do it (bravely) of your own accord, you want your job search to be as quick and foolproof as possible. You want it to result in a job offer for a position that you can prosper in for a long time.
For many folks in this employment market, changing jobs has morphed into changing careers. Broadening the kinds of work you’re open to doing, identifying transferable skills to meet the demands of a changing marketplace, searching for a more satisfying way to earn a living all require more than just dusting off your old resume or vitae and mailing out a hundred copies.
They all start with a thorough assessment of what you have to offer that sets you apart from the competition. If you’ve been sending out resumes and not getting any nibbles, try re-tracing your steps. Create an assessment of your unique qualifications. It may feel like a difficult task if extended time out of work has lowered your morale, but all the more necessary because you need to rev up feel good about yourself before you can convince anyone else to have confidence in you. One way to start is to take a skills inventory. Here are 2 free online examples:
Another way that tends to build self esteem a little more is to write 5 stories about distinct experiences in your life where you felt a sense of achievement. Spend 2-3 paragraphs describing step by step what you did. Review each story and in the margin and identify the skills you think you used. Sit down with 2 friends and ask them to listen to you read each story and ask them to list the skills they think you used. Ask them to identify where in each story they heard each skill occurring. Share with each other the skills each identified. Write down the ones that they added to your list. Read the skills over and try to take them to heart.
Once you’ve assembled a list of skills you feel good about, check it against your resume. Does your resume highlight those skills you have deep experience in and want to use most in a new position?
Recently, I worked with several women with stellar skills and proven experience who had lost their jobs due to market forces. They were so shell-shocked by the loss and their subsequent months of unemployment that they had no energy to market themselves –and it came through in their resumes! Their resumes fairly shouted “I’m a lost soul. I have no idea how to recover. Rescue me.”
They needed to say “I know what I can do better than anybody. Let me tell you what I can do for you and your business.”
That mindset, communicated clearly through your resume, networking contacts and in-person meetings, is irresistible to prospective employers and will give you the edge you need to be hired.
What’s been your experience in your job hunt? Have you asked for or received any feedback to help you improve your pitch to employers?