Know what you’re good at

The nature of how we find work and apply for jobs has changed dramatically in the last five years. Often, the process seems akin to magic and in many cases, particularly with large employers, increasingly impersonal.

The last time I was in job search mode was 2006 and you could still find quality jobs listed in the newspaper. Job boards were the rage, and it seemed like job seekers were in the driver’s seat; all that’s changed in a very short time. Now, a person applying for a job might not even know if they’re being considered because many companies don’t let job seekers know where they’re at in the process. It’s little wonder that job seekers out of work for an extended period report being discouraged and even depressed after not finding success in their search for employment.

I’m only in my second week of unemployment. My situation isn’t dire, and I’m far from being discouraged. But I fully understand how being out of work messes with your psyche and if a person isn’t diligent and proactive in their daily activities, it’s very easy to begin letting doubts creep in and if you aren’t careful, you’ll take a hit in the self-confidence department.

One of the things that I’m staying focused on like a laser during my employment downtime is my skills toolkit. These are the qualities that I bring to a future employer. These are also the things—think of it as my (and your) calling card—that I need to be able to communicate when writing a cover letter, crafting a resume, and landing an interview.

Here are five things that I’m especially good at:

  • Team leadership
  • Marketing
  • Communication
  • Creative thinking
  • Innovation

For the past six years, I have been a key regional leader for workforce development in Maine. I’m proud of my ability to bring together people of diverse backgrounds and have a proven track record of success in building partnerships. In recognition of this, I was awarded the prestigious Annual Partnership Award by Coastal Enterprises, Incorporated, in 2011.

I have exceptional communications skills and use them regularly. Those skills have allowed me to drive visibility and messaging, as well as marketing the importance of workforce development in ensuring that Maine’s workforce has the skills to compete in the 21st century.  The ability to get a message out to a wider audience in the digital age we are living in, through social media and blogging platforms, is something that has become increasingly important. I am experienced and adept at using technology to my advantage and have been successful doing so. I am also an experienced public speaker with a portfolio of presentations delivered to diverse groups ranging from small gatherings to Rotary clubs and Chambers of Commerce-size crowds.

In two paragraphs, I offer tangible examples of my skills and abilities. I’m able to articulate this when asked about them in an interview. This is very important and will help provide confidence for you the next time you get in front of an interviewer, or a group of interviewers. Nailing that next interview is important for you, the job seeker.

Developing a skills-based resume is a great way to get clear about your own skills. I didn’t have one until about six months ago. The exercise in pulling it together was invaluable for me, not to mention finally having a concise snapshot of what I’m good at and why I think I’m a good fit for an employer.

Can you name your top five?