Many people have one eye on changing jobs, if not careers, in today’s uncertain world. Don’t underestimate the risk of becoming cross-eyed! Finding a job or career you really want takes time, effort and energy, and that’s no mean feat if you’re working. The Industrial Age work ethic of staying put for years and years is dwindling. Chance, choice and change are converging at greater pace. If you’re a professional who hasn’t experienced the job market for a while, it can feel bewildering. ‘I’m unsure about my next career move. I don’t know how or where to look for jobs, what I have to offer or how to present myself. I haven’t put a resume/CV together for a long time.’ This post helps to point you in the right direction so you can get started.
Here are 5 shifts in the job and career search all of us will need to embrace to have a better chance of success:
In previous, more stable times, our employer was like a benevolent uncle - always there for advice and to look after our best interests. Today, that uncle has let go and shifted the responsibility for your career to you. That means taking greater ownership of how you learn, develop, adapt and grow. Whereas before our identity came with the job title, now we have to forge our own work identity in an ever-changing landscape. So, get on the front foot and make things happen.
You are now the CEO of your career. See yourself as a business of one. Draft your purpose (your heartfelt, compelling ‘why’), or at least your sense of purpose (the direction of travel), and then be purposeful (take action). Explore what is important to you in your life (personal values) to help shape the type of work and environment for you to give your best. Identify your talents, strengths, current limitations and enduring weaknesses. Get a clear view of who you are and what you have going for you before going anywhere near sending out a resume/CV.
The days of reading job advertisements in the newspaper are being consigned to history. Job boards proliferate with the ability to rapidly search thousands of vacancies. Unfortunately, more is not always better. It can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. You can also be the needle and post your generic resume/CV on job sites for employers to find you. But it’s very difficult to stand out from all the others.
Differentiate yourself and become more visible so employers can find you. You are unique – just like everyone else! Become a magnet instead of a needle. Attract employers towards you. They are seeking a solution to a business need with criteria that reflect what they want. The power of online search engines means they can find you and identify an initial match if you wave your virtual flag.
You can be that magnet and shape the strength of its power by how you present yourself both online and offline. As part of your thinking as MD of your own career, ask yourself: What do I stand for? What do I want to be known for? What do I want people to say about me when I’ve left the room? Think of the Internet as a virtual room. You are creating your digital footprint every time you engage online. Shape your reputation before others shape it for you. And that applies to the impression you create face-to-face. Get out there and meet new people. Become savvy with social media, write your own story and engage.
These are ways to tap into the hidden job market, the ones not advertised commercially. Develop relationships, take some risks and become more curious through your current job and alongside it. Who do you know who…? Who do they know who…? Who knows you? Chance is a significant success factor in careers, so increase your chances by using serendipity.
Soft skills are worth billions of dollars to economies and growing. The previously ‘pink n fluffy’ is at last coming of age and becoming ‘grey n spiky’. Examples include communication and interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-management, decision-making, initiative-taking, and taking responsibility.
The paradox is that soft skills are tough. Soft means subtle and not weak, black and white can come in shades of grey and the intangible enables the tangible. Soft skills capability is only one element of what it means to be employable. Mindset, behaviors, knowledge and hard skills (technical or functional) also have roles to play.
How do you capture what soft skills you are good at and what it would pay for you to develop further? Ask your friends and people you trust. Create an online portfolio on VisualCV – capture all your work experience and focus on why, what and how you had an impact. Include soft skills and build a suite of examples you can use. It will provide the raw material for creating different tailored resumes on VisualCV that can be targeted at specific opportunities.
A resume/CV used to be at the top of list for job searching. It still has a place, but now it’s part of a wider package of how you sell yourself to employers. So you have to be consistent in what you say about yourself and how you are seen (that’s your personal brand). The purpose of a resume/CV is to get you an interview. That’s where employers can test if you match up with what you say about yourself, including your online profiles. Your personality and ability to demonstrate those soft skills help to differentiate you from others.
Did you know that a chameleon looks in two directions at the same time? Its super-powered vision acts like a 360 degrees CCTV camera. Be like a chameleon rather than get cross-eyed from being in a job and searching for one at the same time.