Know Where Your Skills Stop

It’s always been a very sound idea to know your skills. Knowing what you are good at – possibly even great at – is not only good for answering those interview questions that ask you to identify your skills and provide examples, but you’ll know instinctively when your skills can improve a situation.

Just as important is knowing where your skills stop. I thought of this yesterday evening when the car owned by one of the neighbours daughters came into the driveway with a smoking hot engine; literally hot and smoking mind, not a version on the coolness of the item.

I went over and stood there with her, her boyfriend, her father and eventually both our wives. None of us are mechanics or automobile technicians and yet there we were looking at the engine with the hood up. Now me, I kept my hands in my pockets and stated right up front I was only there for moral support. I know one thing about car problems and that is that unless it’s a fluid deficiency problem which I can remedy by filling up the reservoir, call on a professional. Well I suppose a hose that has come unclamped I could tackle, but that’s it.

It’s interesting for me to see from time-to-time, the amateur with no experience claim to know not only the problem, but the solution as well. Be it how to fix a car engine problem or how to find a job, there are a number of people who will offer up their sage advice without ever having really first-hand experience.

Now I’ll admit that when it comes to job searching, an unemployed person could still provide valuable advice on how to go about finding a job. So too could someone who doesn’t own a car still know how to fix automobile problems. The difference usually between the two however is that unemployed people dispensing advice on how to get a job usually want one, whereas many people who know their way around car problems don’t always want to own the best one they could get for themselves.

No, while  someone might settle for a cheap car with problems because they can fix it up, not too many go out looking for jobs that are fraught with problems, just so they can say they have one. People are more picky about the jobs they want, and as proof watch any out-of-work person standing in front of a job board. (If you can still find job boards for people to look at as they are being replaced with online job boards).

Now because how to get a job seems like something everybody has some opinion on – almost all of us having had some experience of looking for a job at least once in our lives, you the job seeker have to decide who is best to get your advice from. This is because there are genuinely knowledgeable people who can provide sound job search advice and suggestions, and there are just as many or more people who don’t have the qualifications to really provide helpful advice, but will do so anyway.

So what’s at risk? Well for starters, you’re ultimate success. You’re going to waste a lot of time going about looking for work if you take some people’s well-intended suggestions. That time without success is going to make you bitter, angry, frustrated and maybe even depressed. Not only this, but all the while, the strength of your references weakens, your skills which were once up-to-date lose their value, and you develop poor personal habits due to changes in your daily routines.

Just as the young woman next door is going to have her car looked at by a qualified professional, my recommendation is that you have your job search behaviours, strategies and methods looked over by a qualified professional. For just as the car is worth a few thousand dollars, I think it safe to say you and your happiness are worth much, much more!

Think of getting some input from a job search professional like getting your car back on the road. The great problem that persists is that everyone, even the job seeker themselves most often, THINKS they KNOW what it takes to become employed. Great obviously if they do of course. However, in almost ALL circumstances, a real job search professional can provide alternatives to how you are going about job searching, improve your chances of success in landing an interview or getting a job offer.

I see moms bring their adult children to the Resource Centre where I work. They’ll be harping on their son or daughter and telling them what to do when I come along. They’ll proudly tell me how they’ve been on the kids case to get a resume, and then show me the work in progress. Most often, it’s pretty bad  honestly. While I applaud the effort, the resulting quality of the document is poor, and this foreshadows a poor outcome to follow. Mom doesn’t know where her skills end.

Employment Coaches, Resume Writers, Employment Counsellors and Advisors are just some of the titles professionals in this field might have. Just like the mechanic, asking a few questions to determine their experience and qualifications is good advice on your part. Trusting them once you settle on one to do the job and taking their advice completely also is good advice. Their called a professional for a reason.


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