Step 1 In The Job Search Process - What Do You Have To offer?
Careers coach Penny Strutton is writing a weekly column for This Is Nottingham with advice for job seekers. This week she looks at the need to create your personal inventory...
It's that time again! If we're not trying to shift the extra weight gained over Christmas, we're looking for a new job! These two most popular resolutions are set year in and year out but so often are not achieved. If you're one of these people think about what it is you need to achieve. You need a large handful of personal belief for sure; but more importantly you need a plan!
So often people launch themselves into finding a new job without taking a step back to think about what it is they have to offer and what exactly they're looking for. Old and probably outdated techniques are used and by February people have resigned themselves to the fact that they'll never find a new job and probably better off staying put!
I've got good news! Everyone has a unique set of skills, achievements and interests which if presented and promoted well can get you a good job – a better job, maybe even the job of your dreams!!
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Compiling a personal inventory should be your starting point. Once you've done this you can carry out some research into the types of jobs and industries which suit you and then write your CV, which you can use to apply for jobs and make speculative approaches to employers. But first things first; compile your personal inventory…
What skills do you hold? Think back over your previous work experience, your time at college or your time at home caring for others or raising a family. List the activities you undertook over a regular week.
For example: "dealing with customers complaints and finding solutions"
Think about "how" you carried this out and you'll be able to identify the skills. To deal with customers you need to be able to communicate, empathise and be assertive, you also need to know what to do to find solutions, which person to approach or which action to follow. From this, you can see the skills you would be using would be communication and problem solving skills (to name a few). Now complete this exercise for all previous roles both paid and unpaid.
Once you've got a thorough list together cross off the skills you really don't enjoy and highlight those that you do enjoy and gain satisfaction from.
What are your values? Having a good understanding of your values is important for identifying whether a job or company will be a good personal fit or not. If you're motivated by making money, working as a volunteer may not fulfil you. Again, if you're motivated by a varied and fast moving work environment, a repetitive desk based job may not be what you're after either! To help you identify your values and motivators, think back to jobs and activities where you were most inspired, motivated and fulfilled. What were you doing at the time? What were others doing? What was the environment like? Now think back to a role where you were not happy or fulfilled? What was missing? Use the answers to these questions to create a table of what is essential, desirable, unwanted and what to avoid in your next role.
What interests you? If you're interested in what you are doing you are far more likely to enjoy your job and progress. Think about what you're passionate about, what you love to debate, what you would happily get involved in for free if you had the time and financial security. Think about your hobbies, what you enjoy reading. Cast your mind back over the years and think about what you used to enjoy when you were younger. Does anything deserve being resurrected? Make a list of your key interests and think about how they may be integrated into different industries.
You'll now have a good understanding of what you have to offer and what you require in your next job. You can now start researching the type of roles that may utilise your skills, the industries that interest you and companies where your values will be realised. Once you've done this, you'll be ready to write your CV and create a strategy for your job search!
This exercise not only boosts your personal understanding, it helps boost confidence. So often we forget that what we do on a daily basis requires a good level of skill and that we are accomplished in many areas.
The first session in my online self-coaching programme helps you through this process of self-discovery using useful exercises and templates as well as a 20 minute training video. If you would like more information please visit www.pennystrutton.co.uk/training.
Next week I'll focus on writing a winning CV!