Principal Consultant, Career OverDrive!
Over the years, first as a college student looking for my first "real world" professional job and then later as a hiring manager, a business owner, a recruiter and a career coach, I've noticed the same Myths & Memes and misconceptions popping up time and again.
Often it is so-called "Career Experts" who give life to these Myths & Memes that you the reason you can't find a "good job" or a "suitable job" or "establish a career" is because you are somehow lacking "skills" or the appropriate "education". If and when you finally do land a job, if you don't get promoted or worse get forced out or blocked and decide to leave, these "experts" will chalk this up to it being, you being, a "bad fit" or "poor fit" for the company.
This is wrong, wrong, wrong for many reasons (e.g., we've previously talk about the SWAN Principle and the cost of acquiring new skills or going back to school).
Alright so let's get to this . First, need to understand that skills by themselves have no value. Period. It doesn't matter how good you are or how much demand there is for those skills, you must have the ability to monetize your skills either by monetizing them on your own or most commonly by plugging into someone else's platform or system.
Now let's talk about the actual patterns you'll see over the life of your career and, in particular, let's discuss what I call the Job Search Lifecycle.
A) In the simplest terms, this view explores the skills that we need:
1. You need the skills to do the job.
2. You need the skills to find the job.
3. You need the skills to land and close the job.
4. You need the skills to maintain and keep the job.
5. You need the skills to plan and manage your career.
B) Now, let's look at a more granular view of the lifecycle and skills needed:
1. Skills acquisition: As a starting point, you'll acquire some amount of skills. They may be hard skills, soft skills, some combination thereof or even simply potential. But in the end, you'll have (and need) something of value to bring to the table of the prospective employer or customer.
2. Packaging: Once you have acquired your skills you need to package them. What are you offering? Is it easy to understand what you do? What is your value proposition? Do you make me money? Save me money? Reduce stress? Enhance productivity?
3a. Job Identification: Now you need to find a position to apply to monetize your skills. You need to identify the job so you have a target to apply to. In some cases, these are easy to find or locate while in other cases you will need to surface them. Much of this depends on timing and luck, so if your dream employer just filled the position you want or you've come into the process very late, there's often not much you can do. That said, just like a lottery, you need to be in it to win. You don't have a chance to win if you aren't in the game, so you'll need to put the time and effort into this (which is your "lottery ticket" or the price of entry).
3b. Job Creation: Many times, however, the ideal job you want doesn't exist now or just isn't "open". The prospective employer you'd like to work for may not even think such a job is important. So what to do? Well, in this case, you create this job at the prospective employer.
4. Presenting: Once you have packaged your skills, found some targets and approached the prospective employer for a meeting (the interview) you'll need to present yourself to answer their main questions and concerns, to see the fit you have with their culture and team and to demonstrate the value you will bring as well as to assess your interest in working with them.
5. Negotiations: These include title, salary and total package, start date and perhaps the proposed career path that may be your future while you are with the company.
6. Closing: Closing the offer and starting your job.
7. Onboarding: The first 90-days at your new job are critical to set expectations and impute your value, understand the written and unwritten rules of the road and the personalities and politics involved.
8. Job Maintenance: This includes keeping and maintaining your job, your skill sets, working to position yourself for a promotion, building new skill sets and connections and making sure you have concrete deliverables and takeaways from your current job to prove to your next prospective employer what value you can add to them, based on what you added at your now current job (soon to be previous company).
9. Repeat Process: At some point you'll most likely begin looking again for a new job/position, either in the same company you are now working or externally.