Convince Yourself First!

Many of us would put “looking for a job” right up there with “root canal surgery” in a list of least favourite things. The idea of trying to convince potential employers that one is worthy of a second look is daunting. We all angst about résumé styles and possible interview questions, wondering what detail might make the difference between success and failure.

Before you even start worrying about how to convince a potential employer of your worthiness, take the time to convince yourself. An exercise that can be very helpful in this regard is to contact at least four people from amongst relatives, work colleagues, friends and neighbours – people who have known you for some time – and ask them to list what they perceive as your skills in three categories: !
• Personal/self management skills (example, “conscientious”)
• Technical/work knowledge specific skills (example, “teaching”)
• Transferable skills (example, “customer service”)

Hearing from other people about the qualities and skills you might bring to a job is helpful in two ways. Firstly, you should see some overlap in the reported skills and this indicates that you project these particular skills well. Secondly, you may find that some of the skills you are most proud of have been overlooked by your peers. This may have a situational cause (you may not be using all of your skills in each context), or it may reflect that you are not projecting these skills as well as you could. If the latter, it is worth digging a little deeper to understand why not. Possessing a skill that no one is aware of is a bit like that question “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”. You have to employ a skill and demonstrate your proficiency to others in order to prove its value.!

Confidence comes from self-knowledge. Seeking feedback on goforthegold-620x298your skill set from trusted individuals, before you launch yourself into the job market, is time and effort well-spent.

Caroline Burgess is an Educational Consultant and student of the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College. MCACESBlogs is a series of posts aimed at assisting job seekers and those in career development. Thanks for reading!

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Leaving the Military and get a job that doesn’t suck: Know yourself and find your perfect path

My aim here is to make things easy, why bust a gut on 12 mile march in full combat gear when you can achieve the same results jogging around the park in your Nikes!

Face facts and ‘grow a pair’ – (Please note this is not a male thing, women also have a pair)

The date is fast approaching and there is nothing you can do about it and the sooner you accept that fact the better. You are about to enter a civilian world and you cannot change it into a military one. You have already proven that you ‘have a pair’ by your military service, now just continue to use that pair as you have in the past. As I moved up through the 6 different ranks from Private to Warrant Officer I changed job 10 times in 24 years.

With each new job came different roles, responsibilities and training. Although there are many challenges moving from a military job to a civilian one you have the experience of changing jobs many times throughout your career. The only difference between a military job and civilian one is that in a civilian job your uniform is different. You were most likely trained for the different appointments and roles you played in your military jobs and you will be required to train for your civilian jobs as well, why would you think any different? One main advantage you have over your civilian counterparts is your adaptability and capacity to be trained and change roles. Maintain the same drive and enthusiasm that helped you climb the Military ranks and you will be successful in whatever civilian role you set your mind too. If you feel your pair shrinking and you want to roll up into a ball and feel sorry for yourself read the book ‘Grow a Pair’ by Larry Winget. This straight-talking, New York Times bestseller will help you get back on track for sure. If you’ve ‘lost your pair’ uncle Larry will help you find them.

Establish your direction – I joined the military when I was a spotty 16 year old youth. I would love to say I joined because I wanted to proudly serve my country but that would be a crock. Like many young Scottish men and women in 1978 I joined to secure a job and avoid unemployment. Was I suited to a military career and lifestyle at that time? Probably not, however strict discipline, training and operational deployments trumps unemployment and poverty any day of the week. As I moved up through the ranks and my job changed with each rank and appointment I discovered that some military jobs suited me better than others, but I never really thought why. I loved being outdoors and training troops but hated being stuck at a desk, in an office, writing reports and completing files and paperwork.

My current job working in the employment field has shed some light on why some jobs suit some people better than others. My post-military training in career consultancy and employment counselling has taught me that the jobs in which we excel are those that closely matched our personality type. One employment planning tool that I find extremely useful, particularly with clients who are unsure of which career path to take, is the ‘Self Directed Search’ (SDS).

http://www.self-directed-search.com

The SDS tool produces a report that explains the user’s personality type and corresponding ‘SDS Summary Code’ (Holland code) and also generates a list of jobs, hobbies and interests that matches that Summary Code.  The SDS website has a section specifically for ‘Veteran and Service members’. This section allows you to explore career options that correspond to your military experience. Used in conjunction with the SDS Summary Code, the Veterans and Military Occupations Finder can:

Help clients explore career options by linking military occupation titles with civilian occupation titles.
Match each individual’s Summary Code to Occupational Information Network (O*NET) career options and required education levels.
Helps active-duty personnel—or those considering the military—to better understand how military paths career may relate to civilian career options.

The ‘Self Directed Search’ is an excellent tool for military personnel who are unsure of which employment field to enter as it allows them to better understand the types of skills and activities they have honed while in the military and to explore civilian occupations that require similar skills. If you are unsure of which direction to head or simply want to explore different career options use the SDS. It is certainly worth the $10 (Canadian) dollar investment.

In phase 2 (blog 2) we will narrow down your options and help identify the best career choice for ‘you’.

This post is the second in a series of blogs relating to finding work after the military. Author David Quinn is currently a student in the Career Consultant Certificate Program offered at Mohawk College. Be sure to follow MCACESBlogs, a series of posts assisting job seekers and their peers with the many facets of work search and professional development. Happy reading!military work