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.!
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!