Last week I spend some time setting the groundwork for success in marketing yourself in the process of transitioning from one job / situation to another. I talked about PACE, both in terms of pacing your search / work and noting that a Positive Attitude Changes Everything. I talked about being willing to limit your work / search to those hours per day where you can be positive and productive and not letting desperation drive you in all the wrong ways. I also talked about taking the time to develop a basic mission statement. You know your objective and you know where you are. How can you represent yourself in a sentence or two that points in the right direction?
This week I want to suggest something that is more like a to do list, but please do the preliminary work (from last week) first or these to dos may be very frustrating.
1. There are choices to make up front:
Where do you want to live? What is the size and atmosphere of the company you would be most comfortable in” Big, little, middle, formal, informal, entrepreneurial?. How do you see your role: In charge, in management, supervisory, individual contributor or somewhere in the middle?
2. There are also personal assessments to make.
What are your strengths, talents, skills, interests. It is a given that we are happiest in a situation / job where we primarily use our strengths and interests – those competencies we know we are good at. What is your education? How does it fit with your objective (are you trained for that work)? What are you competitive advantages? It is vital to determine why any company should hire you over someone (anyone) else. What do you bring to the table?
While you are at it, it is a good idea to make a note of your weaknesses as well. It may well come up in the interview process which we will discuss later, but for now it will help you recognize those specific jobs and opportunities which will rely excessively on those areas where you are weakest. You want to go where you are strong and confident. That is a key to success.
3. As you worked to be able to describe (and market) yourself in a sentence or two, so also you need to narrow your professional objective down to a phrase or two. Your objective or “preferred work function” should be a way of expressing your values, skills, interests and experience that fits the job. It should be easy to understand by those within and outside your profession. And it should be as clear as possible to avoid ending up in a situation which is sort of like you want, but not really.
As a result of this exercise, you should now have a short, intriguing mission statement and a “preferred work function” statement (emphasis on what you have to offer) that will serve as the basis of what many call the elevator speech. (more on that next time). First, one more thing: You may find that most of the following is already done and only needs to be organized.
4. Draw up a positioning statement and competency list to show in detail what you can do for an employer.. This is more detailed, a fleshing out of your summary sentences and it should include a list of competencies (education / experience) as well as notes why they matter and relate to your professional objective. Cluster your skills and try for summary heads. You want to make it as easy as possible for someone to understand exactly what you offer. It should also help you with the steps (above) and determining what you are honestly good at and what you honestly want to do…when you grow up… adjust the above if necessary.
These things: Your mission statement, your preferred work function and your positioning statement/competency list form the basis for your search plan, for your networking plan, for your resume and for your interviews down the road. Don’t skimp on your time here. Be honest and thorough because everything that follows will lean heavily on this. What is more, It only makes sense to do the following AFTER this preliminary work is done:
Set your target market
Draw up your target list of companies / organizations
NOTE: These thoughts are culled from the experts who have presented and spoken at the Transitional Ministry group at church. They are not meant to be gospel for every job seeker, but offered to a wider audience with the hope that they will be helpful. — Michael