09 Jun Is It a Job Search or a Personal Journey?
How Hunting for Your Next Job Can Help You Get to Know Yourself Better!
By Sylvia Luneau
We are fortunate here, in the San Francisco Bay Area, to have so many industries and leaders of industry all operating within a (roughly) 50 mile radius. However, this has inevitably driven the area to be highly competitive and densely populated. All of this means that locating and landing the right job in the Bay Area requires not just a great deal of experience and skill (which it does!), but also some pretty intense perseverance. With so many factors at play, you have to be smart when launching your job search. An excellent first step to success is making the time to complete this very simple exercise.
“Know Thyself” is a motto inscribed on the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, Greece. It turns out the ancient Greeks knew a thing or two about the world because this enduring phrase is still relevant today in just about all areas of life. Nowhere is this more important than when launching your job search. You should (to the best of your ability) be able to articulate your strengths, your weaknesses, your likes, and your dislikes.
It is important to keep in mind that it is very rare for an opportunity to have absolutely everything that you are looking for. However, the key to a successful job search is to know what you are looking for and what you have to offer. Once you have that understanding, your messaging becomes more powerful; there is passion behind your words that will resonate with any potential employer. In addition, having a clear idea of what you like and don’t like in the context of a work environment will help you know what you are willing to negotiate – a very powerful tool.
Try out this exercise:
Open a spreadsheet and create three columns. In this exercise, be as free flowing as possible – there are no wrong answers! Keep in mind, this is just for you, so no need to be too formal or edit your thoughts.
- Title the first column, “Strengths,” then create a list of all the things that you like and are good at. Anything that comes to mind should be in this column, and it should have both business/work-related tasks as well as non-work-related items. With your current or last position, what parts did you like the most? Working in a team? The commute? The ability to eat lunch outside? Your boss?
- Title the second column, “Known Dislikes.” Fill this list with things you have experience doing, but don’t really like to do. Again, in your most recent position, what is it that you tended to delegate or procrastinate on? Is it reporting? Organizing the work of others? Making cold calls? Data entry? Do you dislike the industry you were in?
- Finally, name the third column, “Dreams,” and write a list of things you think you would like to do, but have not yet had the opportunity to try, for whatever reason! Maybe you think you would like to manage a team, manage a training, or work on budgeting? Maybe write a book, teach a class, or write a white paper? Possibly work outside in the fresh air, work from the comfort of your sofa, or work with kids?
Once you have your three lists, start highlighting the positives that really speak to you. What industry could use that mix of skills? What position? Very rarely is a position or a career path perfect. What this exercise will do is help you understand what you are looking for and how to tailor your resume to speak to your “Strengths” (Column 1) and “Dreams” (Column 3)!
In your resume, don’t include too many tasks or skills that are in your “Known Dislikes” (Column 2). Why? Recruiters, such as myself, will often use Boolean technology (essentially, keywords) to locate people on the web. If you do put something on your resume that you really don’t enjoy, like cold-calling, and I need that skill, I will be contacting you about something you really do not want. If your last position was filled with things you disliked, and you need to write something, consider softer verbiage that is closer to your preferred skills: instead of cold-calling, maybe write Sales or B to C Marketing.
With this exercise behind you, you will be able to write more passionately about what you like and that will feel great! Your verbiage will be more confident and compelling and your message will become empowering. The key is to embrace your strengths, believe in yourself, and to be confident about what you are offering. In one way or another, filling a position IS solving a problem. What problem are you solving? Assume the positive outcome – YOU can solve that problem for a company. It’s thrilling!
This task also applies if you are looking to change careers or re-enter the workplace. If it doesn’t feel like it is working for you, take it slow, step away from your lists, and let your subconscious help you envision what you are looking for.
Not sure about your resume and local to the SF Bay Area? Consider PsiNapse. If you are in IT or any level of administration, including Accounting, Finance, HR, Operations, etc., we want to help!
Email our team at [email protected] with your resume and request a review. We will read over your resume and schedule a free consultation to give our feedback and constructive assistance on how your resume reads and possible areas for improvement.
Let’s move forward together!