I hope you had a wonderful and safe weekend. Over my weekend, I really started thinking about something. What are you an expert in? How many things have you truly mastered in life?
For example, you must know how to cook a little in order to survive day to day. But, is your food the quality of a professional chef? If your job disappeared tomorrow, and you were told the only job available to you was cooking in a restaurant, how would that work out?
Similarly, you might like to travel – domestically, and maybe even internationally. But, how good are you at booking travel? Do you know about all sorts of hotels, travel visas, and the best restaurants?
In both of these examples, the chances are pretty good that you would much prefer to be the customer. You probably aren’t a professional chef, or so skilled with travel booking that you could take it on as a full time job.
You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. Well, this is what I was thinking…
Was it is that you ARE an expert at? After graduating from college, I became an IT project manager and business analyst at FedEx. Some of the things that make an IT project manager good at their job include:
- Very well organized planner
- Ability to write business requirements
- Good at leading meetings, and mitigating conflict
- Understands the software development life cycle
Now, let’s contrast this list with what makes someone good at looking for a job:
- Well spoken, and presents well
- Comfortable explaining own work history
- Good at presenting online, in both a resume and LinkedIn profile
- Great at networking with people at other companies
This is a short list of just a few things. But, they’re clearly very different skills. The skills needed to be a good project manager are in many ways different than those required to be a great job seeker.
And, to become a true expert at something, you do it every day. This is what happens with your full time job.
But, when you’re tasked with something you only do rarely, like planning a luxury vacation, you either get by doing the minimum with your existing skills, or you contact a professional to help you. You know you’ll never be the best at it because you don’t do it all the time. And, that’s okay because your career’s future doesn’t depend on how well you cook, or how great your travel reservations are.
Unfortunately, when it comes to job seeking, this is not the case. How good you are at job searching can have a major impact on your future — both in the type of job you have, and the amount of money you make. But, how can you be an expert at something you only do once every five years (for as short of a time as possible)?
So often, job seekers fail to recognize this core issue. I hear from people who say, “The companies just don’t like me!” Or, “They must not think I can do this job!”
You know, the job seeker could be totally right. The company may hate them. The company may completely think they’re unqualified. Or, judge them based on some part of their work or personal history.
Alternatively, it’s equally possible (if not more so) that nobody’s seeing the job seeker’s resume at all. It’s possible that the resume never makes it out of the online system (otherwise known as the “applicant tracking system”). Did you know that very often, a human never even sees your resume?
Does the fact that you don’t have a lot of practice looking for a job mean that you aren’t good at doing the actual job? No, in fact, in might mean just the opposite. If you haven’t looked for a job much, it could be because you’ve been really happy at your current job – or because hiring managers have always recruited you first.
So, it’s possible that you’re really great at your job – but, not so great at finding a job. As I mentioned above, they’re two different skill sets. Does that make sense?
Anyhow, before you give up on your search – or get too frustrated (or take a fallback job), try to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. That frustration you’re feeling is probably not a reflection of how good you are at what you’re doing. It may very well be with the job searching process.
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