Job seeking can be an emotional time; if this is our first job we can approach it with excitement and enthusiasm.  Our first job is often the demarcation between youth and maturity.  However, if we have been a victim of economic uncertainty finding another job can be a desperate thing, and frightening scenarios of unpaid bills can lead to excessive stress; which does little for our confidence.

In particular when we are seeking another job we can tend to narrow our options by concentrating on our existing skills and experience.  Trying to muscle in on an overcrowded market can be very difficult.

Perhaps we need the courage to try something different.  The simple rule of life is to work from your strengths – and the question we need to ask when we find ourselves unexpectedly unemployed is “Have I been fully utilising my strengths?” –    Hmmm! actually before that, I think we need to make some real assessment about what are our strengths.

Did you know that we are more likely to be good at doing the things we like?  Well, it makes sense doesn’t it?  Let’s face it we are certainly going to put more effort into something we find pleasant than if we feel it is an unpleasant chore.

So ask yourself – did you really like your last job?  If the answer was ‘yes’ then you know that you are on the right track.  But what if the answer was ‘no – I only took it to pay the bills’? – then perhaps an assessment of what you truly do like doing might open up a few more options for you.

We could also find that we have developed skills which we excel in, purely as an outcome of doing an otherwise uncongenial job.  I remember in the military, I was posted out of field work (which I loved) into a barrack admin job (which I loathed).  However, after about six months I found that I had developed a real interest in Administration Organisation; and gradually had developed systems and programmes to support my ideas on how things should be done.  By pursuing my interest I had turned a job I started out disliking into a real career path, one which later led onto my continued promotion.

Left to myself, I would never have opted for an administrative role – one of my main reasons for choosing a military career was to avoid being stuck in, what I considered, a boring office job.  But when I was forced into such a job, I found that I had hidden talents which were put to good use when I took over the Orderly Room.

So what hidden talents have you discovered in your working life?  Talents which could be more fully utilised somewhere else perhaps?  Are there any extra qualifications that you could achieve which would give you another option when seeking a job?

And along with that comes a reassessment of the type of work that may be available. Generally speaking we believe that to pay the bills we need a full time job and usually that is the case.  When we have obligations we need to have the means to cover them.  But is it truly the only option open to us?  Have we really investigated accepting, say, a part time job, just to get positioned in the industry?

A friend of mine really wanted to work with animals, but she had no formal qualification and other than owning a menagerie of pets, had little experience.  However she accepted a part time position in a veterinary surgery cleaning out cages.  Being interested and eager to improve, she soon learned other practical skills and eventually worked her way into her dream job.  She is now studying part time and working part time with the full intention of qualifying as a Vet.

And finally; what experience have you gained from other activities – other than your formal work that is?  Have you been a Secretary of a volunteer organisation?  What skills did you acquire in that role?  Have you coached sporting teams – then you have a good knowledge of how teams work and how to motivate them.  Were you the one always tasked to produce the newsletter for the scouts or guides?  Then you probably have an eye for design.

We take these tasks on in a voluntary capacity because we like doing them  – remember what I said in the beginning – we are more likely to be successful at doing things we like.  So if we find ourselves looking for a job, don’t narrow the options open to you.  

Look beyond the obvious to other skills and attributes that you can bring to your work.  You can then extend your range of Job Seeking Skills which opens up a lot more opportunities.  Which is not a bad thing. 

Michele @ Trischel

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Confucius

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