Periodically, I get calls, emails, or LinkedIn messages asking for a general resume so the job seeker can apply for “any job”. Naturally, I would like everyone to find happiness at work, so I want to help. It’s also good business to say “yes, we can do that.”
The problem is, employers do not advertise “any job”. They hire people to meet specific business needs, whether the problem is to invent a new vaccine, or respond to that customer service line question their chat bot can’t answer. So, I tell job seekers that they will get better results when we start with a specific job target that matches their knowledge, skills, and abilities.
If you are thinking about a post-COVID19 career or job change take the time to ask yourself a few questions, including;
- Do you want to pursue a new job, or a new career?
- What skills and experience do you need?
- What problems do you want to solve?
- What are you most proud of in your past work experience?
- What are 10 job titles that you’d consider pursuing?
- How much do you need to earn?
Do you want to change jobs or change careers?
The first question to consider is whether or not to make a change at all. Think hard about this if you want to make a change because you disagree with the way your employer does things. There is usually more than one way to solve a problem. People I have worked with that always agree with the way leadership instructs them to solve a problem, I’ve found, may not be thinking very hard. If the company’s approach conflicts with deeply held values, though, it may be wise to consider a change.
Of course, if you have been downsized or if your company foundered and sank during the Pandemic, you probably have to find a new job or career.
There is a difference between finding a new job in your current business or profession, and finding a job in a different occupation. It is more difficult, to take an extreme example, for one to become a doctor instead of being a lawyer—each requires unique and specialized training. One does not need major retraining to transition from one law or medical practice to another one, though.
So, think even more about the change you have in mind if you want to enter an entirely new occupation. It could involve extensive additional schooling, or starting in an entry-level job.
Do you have the skills and experience for the job or career you want?
Job seekers sometimes contact me because they are applying for many jobs without landing interviews. When the job seeker’s marketing collateral—resume, job search letters, and LinkedIn profile—need improvement, I can help.
Sometimes the problem is that the job seeker is applying for jobs he or she does not qualify to fill. For example, a recent graduate from a prominent school of international affairs once asked me to prepare materials for an application to a position at a United Nations agency. The job announcement she wanted to address required 10 years of experience at UN agencies, or organizations that do business with the UN, known as NGOs. She did not qualify for this job, or similar jobs, that she was applying for because she lacked the required experience.
As demonstrated in my post on job search letters, you can determine whether you are qualified for a specific job. Briefly, create two columns on a piece of paper or on your screen—the employer’s requirements, and your qualifications. You have a shot at landing an interview if the two columns largely match. Even better, you can summarize the results of your analysis in a cover letter!
What problems do you want to solve?
Most of us think about what we want from a new job or career. As a result, I still see resumes that list an objective such as “a challenging job in a growing company” or the like. The challenge is that this does not tell prospective employers and customers what you will deliver. Are you an expert in external financial reporting, apparel production development, or B2B cloud software sales? You have already made a giant step toward meeting your goal when a hiring manager sees what you deliver as soon as they open your resume.
What accomplishments are you most proud of in your past jobs?
Employers are interested in what you achieved at your jobs, rather than your job description. They either know your job description or can look it up in a few seconds. So, think about the accomplishments at a recent job that you are most proud of. Chances are, if you are proud of a specific accomplishment, it involved something you like doing, and something you do well. You will not only be closer to developing a viable resume, and LinkedIn profile, but be better focused on what you really want to do.
What are 10 job titles you want to pursue?
It’s useful to research the specific job titles you match. Last week, I was conversing with a public health officer about the jobs a new biologist could fill. While we talked, I checked the Federal government occupation search web site and looked at job titles on LinkedIn. It turns out that the term “biologist” covers many job titles, such as Aquatic Biologist, Aquatic Scientist, Biological Scientist, Botanist, Horticulturist, Marine Biologist, Research Biologist, Research Scientist, Cellular Biologist, Molecular Biologist, Wildlife Biologist, and myriad others.
Research your occupation. You will probably find many more than 10 job titles your knowledge, skills, and abilities may match.
How much do you need to earn?
Often, the first question we ask about a job is “how much does it pay?” It’s an important question because we all must earn a living. Nonetheless, it’s not a good question to ask first because you want to be “customer”, i.e. employer, focused and concentrate on talking with prospective employers about their needs, instead of your needs.
Remember, if you are doing a career change and starting out in a completely different industry or function, you will probably not earn the salary you are accustomed to at the beginning of your new career. You may advance faster than younger workers based on well-honed soft skills brought from your former career, though.
Research your salary prospects before committing yourself to a big change to avoid disappointment. What other tools do you need to move forward? Updated resume? Stronger LinkedIn profile? We are here to help. Click here to arrange a no-cost consultation.