There are no two ways around it: job searches can be frustrating. For those of us who have invested money in a higher education chasing our passions, this holds true even more. Whether it is because there are slim pickings in your specific field right now, or you realized after that first job that the field you went into isn’t for you, you invested a lot into pursuing your dreams. If your expectations of career opportunities don’t pan out immediately after graduation, it can be discouraging.
It may start to feel like you’re unemployable or that you have wasted your time and money, but you haven’t! Every team you’ve been on, you’ve added value. You’re passionate, determined, and intelligent. Any employer would be crazy to not want you on their team.
The reality is life often doesn’t go according to plan, and having a strict vision of the types of positions that should mark your career path can serve as a speed bump (or stop sign) in finding professional success. As a recruiter, I have seen first-hand how getting creative and casting a little wider net on the scope of viable job opportunities has allowed job seekers to secure jobs and feel fulfilled professionally.
Here are a few simple ways you can rethink your job search and your professional skills and experience to ultimately land you the job of your dreams:
Audit Your Skills
Before you begin to put yourself back out into the job pool, take a moment to reflect on the skills you have. Are any of them transferrable or appealing if you think about them in a slightly different light? What soft skills do you have?
Certain skills are an asset to all companies because they provide flexibility, diversity, portability, and employability. These skills are things like organization, emotional intelligence, motivation, leadership, etc. Because they are so versatile, they are great selling points to use on a resume or in an interview.
If you are someone with a very niche skillset, thinking about the value you bring to a business can also help reframe your skills in broader terms. For example, if you are someone who has been trained in workplace mediation but is looking to move out of HR, it might be beneficial to categorize that skill as conflict management.
Before you begin to put yourself back out into the job pool, take a moment to reflect on the skills you have
Stop Searching the Same Job Titles Over and Over!
Albert Einstein once said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Instead of searching for a specific job title, try looking for a specific skill or job duty that you love.
When looking sifting through job applications, Human Resources professionals are expected to follow strict guidelines based on matching job description keywords to a resume. If you are someone who loves helping others, has a strong background of retail experience, but is looking to transition into the corporate world, your skills and passions can easily find application within a corporate customer service environment.
If you’re not sure where to begin, recruiters can help broaden the scope of your job search and connect you to opportunities that you may not have originally considered. Recruiters are expected to think broadly when it comes to reviewing skills and experience. Not only that, but they understand the duties of a particular role, the culture of the company and have knowledge of who has been successful before.
What Are You Passionate About?
If you are someone who went to school for a niche career path and then realized that the field you chose wasn’t for you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Before you throw out the baby with the bathwater, take a moment to reflect on what you did like about the job. Chances are at the core of your decision is a very clear passion that has application in other fields as well.
If you went to school to be a therapist, you most likely did this because you enjoy helping others. If you wanted to be a teacher, you probably enjoy sharing knowledge and educating others –not just children.
Before dismissing a job opportunity, think of what you loved about your previous roles and if this current opportunity shares these traits.
I personally have assisted individuals who have worked in the health services industry who needed to step away from their role because it was too heavy on the heart. I was able to connect them with Benefits Verification roles in the pharmaceutical industry. The skills they had from working in health care, (empathetic communicator, organized, thinking quickly, positive attitude, detailed-oriented, etc.) were all great attributes to have as a Benefits Verification Specialist. Additionally, their ability to help others has not been lost, and, as a bonus, their knowledge of the health care industry gives them a leg-up in this role.
Life changes and our aspirations can change, too. There’s nothing that says you’re stuck with the professional roadmap you laid out for yourself in your teens. As life goes on, holding on too tightly to this plan can hurt your professional growth long-term; it’s good to set goals, but it is equally important to be flexible.
By looking at the source of your passions, examining the “why” behind your professional aspirations, and keeping an open mind about the types of opportunities that can “check all the boxes”, the opportunities for your future can go from being a flicker of light in the dark to having a bright horizon.