In writing about Job Hunting and finding a new job I've been doing a lot of research. We did our Savvy Geek Chix program last week and it was a huge success. Of the people in the room, a majority had taken our resume workshop and many were looking for a job - either because they'd been laid off or because they were in fear of being laid off.
So, to continue this series of posts I wanted to break down the job search into its components. The first of these is What do you want to do? When you tell your friends you are out of work and looking for a job they are all scrabbling in their brains trying to decide - what is it she does? My grandmother for years would say to me in the sweetest voice - "what is it you do dear?" even though I'd told her a dozen times or more. My boyfriend's sister-in-law, who's never worked in business, could simply not grasp what I did as a marketing person - she didn't understand the terms press release, collateral, etc. And my darling nephew, at the end of a long day of going about, responded to my statement of ask me anything, said in all sincerity- Aunt Jerri - exactly what is this thing you keep talking about - a trade show?
So if the people closest to me are unaware of what I do how much do my friends, and network really know about what I do, and even more importantly - what I like to do?
After my first layoff from the phone company I went to an outplacement firm. And they put me through a battery of tests to help me determine what I should do. I had become a little muddled in my last job - doing a combination of marketing, training, sales support (going with salespeople and presenting on key products that they weren't able to answer questions about), IT (how to teach sales people not to leave their laptops lying around? Steal them and lock them in your desk - they'll never forget them again). Once the tests were completed I was told I was suited for 4 jobs - Marketing, Training, Minister (of great hilarity to me since I am the epitome of the late Sunday morning sleeper- but something I'll talk about in the future) and Politician. So my personality profile said it - I am a Marketer. But a marketer of what? What did I know? I thought at the time I could only work for a phone company but the counselors showed me that marketing skills are applicable across a wide range of businesses. I interviewed at a variety of companies and got several offers but I decided to go with Telecom at the time. But, as I have learned in the last two years working for a non profit - my skills are very transferable. But I have kept my focus very steadily on Marketing.
So what does this mean for people who are out job hunting? First of all sit down and write out what you like to do - what brings your pleasure. In yellow page advertising one of the key tips is to highlight in ads the things you enjoy doing most that make you the most money. Those are the things you want people to focus on. If you are a programmer but what you love is managing a team - then target that. If you are an accountant but you really enjoy working on grant submissions - then focus on finding a company that specializes in grant submissions. It will be much easier to sell yourself to a company if you believe in the product you are selling - yourself. If you enjoy something that will shine through.
Then create a 30 second - one paragraph simple explanation of what you want to do - i.e. I am a highly skilled marketer with 20 years experience in Public Relations, Branding, Collateral Develpment.... - Tell people that's who you are and what you want to do. You're writing the sales pitch for them to use. So if someone says I really need a marketing person - your friends can say - I know someone who'd be perfect for that. Remember your network has become your salesforce and the product is you.