Focus in on the Type of Work you are Seeking

by on May 23, 2012

Focus in on the Type of Work you are Seeking

One of the challenges that I see many job seekers have when they are in the midst of their job search campaign is exactly how to present themselves to prospective employers.  In the tight job market that exists at the present time, the tendency is to show oneself possessing a wide range of skill sets and interests.  The thought behind this approach is that you are showing you are able to do many different things.  Therefore if one of those areas is one the employer is looking for the candidate to possess, you will have yourself covered when they are looking through your qualifications.  In reality this approach often does the job searcher more harm than good.

A searcher that is not able to present oneself with a focused approach appears scattered to prospective employers.  It gives off the impression that they do not know what type of position they are looking to fill or that they are desperate to take any position that is available.  While it may seem counter intuitive in a tight job market to portray a focused approach to your search, it does provide many advantages.

First you are building a picture for the perspective employer of who you are and the skills you possess.  The more focused the accomplishments you present, the job title you are seeking and the role you can best fill to address the issues in their organization, the easier you make it for the hiring manager to picture you as part of their company. Another advantage is if your focus is both on what you do well and what you enjoy doing you are more likely to make a stronger presentation than if you are looking to convince a perspective employer of your ability to perform responsibilities that don’t match your strengths or interests.  For example, an acquaintance of mind recently had a conversation for potential positions that looked for both strengths in having a background in education and in administration.  My friend very much enjoys the role of being an educator and moving forward the development of her students.  She however does not enjoy doing detailed administrative and scheduling duties.  She was up front with the hiring manager about those interests and strengths.  In this particular situation, fortunately the organization with the openings had three positions which they were looking to fill.  While my friend was not an ideal candidate for the position they initially brought her in to speak about, she was a better fit for another position in the organization.  She has been encouraged to keep the interview process moving forward by preparing herself for a meeting with the Executive Director of the organization in the near future.

If you are newly entering job search, or if you have been in job search for awhile and are more confused than ever as to where you want to next take your search, be good to yourself by first assessing that which it is you truly want to do.  That may mean taking one of several assessment tools that are available.  A career coach should likely be able to make one or more available to you.  It could also mean jotting down some areas of interest you have and then taking the time to seek out individuals who work in those fields.  Ask them about the type of work they do.  What are some of the duties they perform in their work?   How did they get started in the field?  What type of educational background is required?  Are there opportunities for you to either volunteer in the field, or possibly apprentice with one experienced in the field so as to experience what the work is like to do?  Additionally, most disciplines have professional associations.  Look up the national or international association and seek out the local chapter in your area.  Attend one of their meetings as a guest so as to make contacts in that profession.

Above all remember, while it may seem unnatural to you, focusing on specifically what you are seeking is more attractive than non-focus any day, particularly in the area of employment search.  Those hiring you want those working for and with them to be as passionate about the line of work they are in as they are.  Their expectations will be someone with the love of the particular profession will make far stronger contributions to an organization’s success than someone who is just looking to fill a role.  While you may think it will take you longer to find the job which is right for you by being more specific, many times you will actually shorten your search.  In a tight job market employers are less likely to look to hire people who appear to want to bounce from job to job before they find what is right for them.  The more specific you can be in the focus of the type of work you are seeking and which best uses your skills, the more likely it will be that you will prove successful when you land that next position.

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