Paraphrasing from JFK, I suggest during any job hunt or interview, don’t focus on what you want to do, but what you can do for a company. These are indeed interesting times. Many sectors are seeing an increase in unemployment, while other sectors have job openings and a lack of talent to fill those roles. Many of my career coaching clients are coming to me not because they don’t have a good job, but more often now because they are really thinking long and hard about what they want to do. I discussed in another blog, “Mortality Smacks Many in the Face,” how a brush with death (209K dead from COVID in the US alone) can wake up anyone. We only have a limited time on this earth, so what do we want to do with our waking hours since most of us still have to pay the bills?
First, we have to do an assessment of our skills. Often I find clients telling me I’m a good communicator, or I’ve got great project management skills. These are what I consider soft skills that anyone can develop. They are necessary to be successful but what differentiates you from others are the hard skills. Do you have mad computer skills and can do a data migration? Are you a talented health economist who can improve quality and reduce costs? Are you extremely knowledgeable about education systems and training?
There are plenty of assessment tests out there, you can do a formal one or you can do an inventory of your skills. What I have found is that the things you love to do, tend to be the things you are best at doing. Part of the assessment process is figuring out which of the skills or tasks you do you would like to continue doing in your next role. Once you’ve done this, you can craft a resume to highlight these areas and a LinkedIn profile that complements the resume. Sometimes a traditional resume can accomplish this, and sometimes a different format, one that is a mix of functional and chronological is better. There are so many free tools available these days that anyone can create a very professional-looking resume. If you’re looking for resume templates, check Google docs or Canva. The key ingredient to a strong marketing presentation of yourself is a strong pitch. See my blog on pitches for more details on how to create one.
A pitch highlights and shares your best skills and in what environments you have used them. But, what a pitch really does is translate for a company what you do, how you do it, and what that means to them. It’s one thing to list all your accomplishments, it’s another thing to translate them into what you can do for an organization. They want to know how you will impact the bottom line and what you bring to the table.
The purpose of a resume or a LinkedIn profile is to capture someone’s attention so they want to learn more. Ideally, a profile will gain you entry to an informational or formal interview. What you do with that time is key. Preparation matters. Ask good questions and demonstrate you have done your homework and know how to listen. A client and friend shared how much she values the STAR approach when responding to interview questions. If you aren’t familiar with behavioral interviews it’s simple, S=Situation, T=Task, A=Action, and R=Results. If you can share short concise powerful stories in this format that illustrate your capabilities and demonstrate the results, this is incredible. It leads you to the final punch, translating the results into how a company benefits from bringing you into their team. A good match results in a satisfying career and a successful company.