Defining Yourself While In Job Search Transition

by on March 20, 2013

Defining Yourself While In Job Search Transition

The big questionI was having a wonderful conversation with an individual that I had met at a networking event.  I introduced myself as a career coach, and they explained to me about their career and what it entailed.  It was obvious this individual knew their field of expertise very well and that they had a lot to offer whomever employed their services.  During our conversation my contact indicated they had recently been let go of their job after a long period of time due to budget cutbacks.  I explained to them the importance of developing a strong and succinct pitch as to who they are and what they offered as one of the key steps as they intensified their job search efforts.  As we continued our discussion and it became clearer that my contact was getting what I was saying, they asked me a question that stopped me to pause.  They asked me if they should tell others that they were unemployed.

Unemployed, looking to change careers, working part-time or what ever description you may want to give it, should not describe you ever in a discussion about your career.  Even if you are not actively employed full-time in the job that you most desire, you are best defined by the type of work you have done, the accomplishments you have achieved, the skills you possess and what you have to offer to a perspective employer.  Those items DID NOT go away when your employment went away.  They are a part of you.  They are who you are and what will ultimately determine where and when you are hired next.

Yes, there is a lot of static that gets brought into job search discussions.  Am I considered too old or too young for the job?  Am I considered over qualified or under qualified?  Will this factor or that factor disqualify me from consideration for the position?  Do people not get jobs based on such factors?   Yes, of course that happens.  However, there is little one can do to control such factors.  What one does have in their control is themselves, as the employment candidate.  Again, they know the history they have built up during their career, and ideally have kept excellent records of just what they have accomplished.  They have the ability to choose whether they need to further their education by taking courses or additional programs.  There is the ability to look to reach out and sit down with others in the field they are seeking to stay or reenter and ask them solid objective questions about how their candidacy in that profession is viewed.  There is also the ability when receiving that feedback to determine how one might want to build on it.  Perhaps there is a suggestion of doing some volunteer work in the discipline to show what you can do.  Or there may be suggestions to point to businesses in particular types of industries or of a certain size range that will find you as a candidate more attractive than others.

Whether you are currently out of work, in a job but not happy with it, or in a career position that you truly do like, it is unlikely you will be in that state forever.  Yes, it may take a lot of persistence to get to the next destination in your career.  There will likely be disappointments along the way.  However, to define yourself by your employment status, as opposed to by that which you have accomplished and the skills you offer, is not the way to present yourself, no matter what stage you are in during the course of your career.  Let the employment status question become a point of discussion after you have impressed them with who you are and what you offer to them.

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