and keep in mind that JOB-SEEKING is a 2-WAY STREET!
I meet with some very talented job seekers – some with years of relevant and transferable experience – and some who are recent college graduates (who bring valuable training and background!)…They are perplexed when they don’t hear back from an employer…And can feel that their skills and experience are not being taken seriously or valued!
HERE’S ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE and 2 other possibilities! It’s not that you don’t have valuable experience and skills; they just may not match what the employer is seeking! … OR that they do match (and are in fact, transferable), but not being clearly conveyed in your resume or job interviews!
I encourage you to look more closely at the employer’s perspective! …and FIND OUT: What are the business’ priorities? What is the organization’s mission? What are the kinds of jobs the employer is looking to fill AND the skills/or certifications being sought?
Then check with yourself! Does this job and its requirements/priorities match your interests? If it matches your interests, but not your skills (or skill level), find out how/where you can get the required training or certifications!
This approach can lead to a job! Josh, an IT Technician with a local school district, comes to mind! For five years, Josh worked as a Teacher Assistant in Special Education. But shortly after COVID-19 brought about school closures and remote learning, he found himself unemployed. Josh realized that he was not happy in his work even before losing his job.
“And at that point,” Josh explained, “I started seriously researching what IT employers were looking for! I spoke with lots of people and did a lot of googling …trying to figure out, ‘Did I need to go back to college and earn a degree in computer technology?’ What I learned: “Certifications were the way to go!” – especially the A+ certification! I studied recommended text books, took practice tests that I found on google – even while still working as a TA! After earning my A+ certification, the calls to come in for interviews began! The rest is history!”
SO WHERE DO WE START to better understand the employer’s perspective? I suggest to start with the COMPANY WEBSITE ! We can learn a lot about the company’s culture, “personality”, its special niche within the industry…as well as their job opportunities and the skills that they are seeking!
For example: FINGERPAINT marketing company: https://www.fingerpaint.com/careers
The font can tell you a lot…as well as the wording! For example, “Never paint by number.” Or under CULTURE, we see the words, “No titles. No offices. No egos.”
The “conceptual advertising copywriter” description includes: “We need you to partner with an art director, and maybe a developer, and bring ideas that make us say, “Wow – I never thought of it like that.” Then, we need you to craft it into a beautiful execution.” Creativity, “thinking outside the box” are qualities that are clearly sought!
And as you gather valuable information about a particular workplace, ASK YOURSELF: Is this a job (or career) that I would enjoy? Would I have an opportunity to use my skills in this position? Or might this job (EVEN IF IT’S TEMPORARY!) be a foot in the door in an organization that offers growth opportunities in a field that excites me!? OR SIMPLY, “Does that sound like me?”
Consider the publishing company, Bellwethermedia at Bellwethermedia.com! Bellwethermedia is a publishing company. Their special niche and targeted audience are clearly spelled out under ABOUT Bellwether Media, Inc:
“The best nonfiction for beginning and reluctant readers…
Our mission is to create lifelong readers through an innovative nonfiction library. All of our books are carefully designed to spark curiosity and promote valuable literacy skills in beginning and reluctant readers…”
ASK YOURSELF: Does this niche – Bellwethermedia’s targeted audience – grab me?!
But don’t stop your investigation with the company website! I learn so much by speaking with people with experience in the field and asking questions! I reach out to folks that I have met in professional organizations (and worked together with on committees), folks that I have been introduced to by colleagues and panelists that spoke on zoom forums that I attended. Job seekers that I have worked with have served as great resources!
Before meeting with an individual, think about what is important to you! Here are some possible questions:
- Which of the listed skills are essential?
- Are there some skills for which the company provides on-the-job training?
- If you don’t have the required skills (and the company does not provide training), where/how can you build the required skills?
- If you don’t yet meet the qualifications for this job, what are the jobs in the field that require less experience (but will ultimately lead to the position that you are targeting?
A colleague introduced me to CAPCOM Talent Acquisition Specialist Nathan Wilson. We met over zoom and I learned about the company’s priorities: that relationship-building is perhaps, the most sought after skill by the company!
I also find it helpful to reach out to my colleague, Susan Lundberg (past owner of Capital Tech Search, President of NY Tech Loop and with 21 years of IT recruiting experience). I met Susan when we both served on the CRHRA’s (Capital Region Human Resource Association’s) “work readiness” committee. I learned from Susan that communication skills are “super important for many employers, including in the technology field!
In a recent meeting with a talented job seeker Quanasia Taylor, I learned about some very timely free online trainings: https://www.coursera.org/learn/covid-19-contact-tracing
Susan shared with me information on the Albany Can Code www.albanycancode.org digital literacy and coding trainings! She explained that for some employers (and positions), these “boot camps” nicely match the employer’s expectations.
Ideally, job interviews and informational interviews should be back and forth conversations…a chance for the employer/potential employer to learn about you/your skills AND A CHANCE FOR YOU TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY AND THEIR NEEDS AND GOALS!
Sometimes our experience precisely matches the job postings written by an employer…But sometimes not, even though we may have strong TRANSFERABLE SKILLS! Some interviewers recognize the transferable skills, but for others, the relevance is not obvious! Job applicants (OR INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWERS) may have to more clearly spell out the relevance and that their experience and skills are in fact what a particular job demands!
So if your self-assessment says: “YES, THIS JOB/FIELD INTERESTS ME,” I encourage you to “GO FOR IT!” This is a great time to participate in online trainings and prepare for your next job! – especially as so many are currently being offered for free! And just as Josh experienced, you will bring to your job search those required certification(s) that match what the employer is seeking!