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Job Seeker, Know Thyself

The ancient Greeks carved a nifty saying on the wall of Apollo’s temple at Delphi. It’s just two words long, but it could have a profound impact on your career and your life.
The two words are: “Know thyself.”
How well do you know yourself, especially when it comes to your job search?
Have you ever sat down and thought — really thought, long and hard — about the kind of work that would make you happy and support you for years to come?
If not, let me invite you to get to know yourself better today — so you can get hired faster for the right job, starting tomorrow.
Here are two ways to do it …
 

1) Know Your Most-Marketable Skills

Any resume or cover letter you write must highlight your most-marketable skills in a way that makes employers want to meet you. To find those skills, answer these two questions:

  1. a) What do you do well?
    What do you do better and more easily than other people? Is it the work you’re doing now? Something you studied in school? A hobby? Write down your answers, no matter how unrelated they are to work. The goal is to get your creative juices flowing.

Let’s take a fictitious job seeker, Sally, and write down what she does well:
public speaking, sales, client service, managing projects, solving computer problems, managing people, speaking French

  1. b) What do you enjoy doing?
    What skills do you like using most? What would you do even if you weren’t paid? Write your answers down.

Here’s what Sally enjoys doing:
public speaking, bicycling, client service, solving computer problems, making sushi, managing people, speaking French, serving as a volunteer firefighter, hiking, writing, reading, travel
You’ll notice that several of her skills appeared in both lists. That’s what we’re after! These are Sally’s most-marketable skills — things she does well AND enjoys doing. They are: public speaking, client service, solving computer problems, and speaking French.
Pretty simple, huh? By answering these two questions, Sally has found her most-marketable skills. Try it yourself. You may be surprised!
Next, after you know those skills, you should …
 

2) Know Your Target Job

Relax! This involves less thinking. All you have to do is pick two or three of your marketable skills, then search your favorite employment Web site.
Let’s say your three marketable skills are writing, training and managing. We’ll use Monster.com for this example and look for the “Job Search” box near the top of the page there.
I typed in the first two skills above: writing and training, and did not check on any category or location, because I wanted to generate the most results possible for jobs posted nationwide.
Among the openings I found were the following: Manager of Medical Writing, Training Coordinator, Full-time Tutor, and Communications Specialist.
That’s a wide range of jobs. When you do this exercise, it will generate a wide range of ideas for you, too, to help you brainstorm and choose your target job more easily.
When you search based on your marketable skills, you will quickly get a sense of how many openings are available and at what salary level. Example: there were 44 openings nationwide on Monster.com for the phrase baseball player, 130 for baseball marketing, and 1,976 openings for sports marketing.
So, expand your search terms and your thinking until you find target jobs that appeal to you. It’s that simple and that powerful — this exercise will save you weeks of frustration looking for the wrong jobs.
And here’s the best part: Once you know your target job, wonderful things start to happen …
Remember when you bought your car and suddenly it seemed like every third person was driving the same vehicle as you? It had always been out there on the road, but now you saw it more, because you were more receptive to that particular style and color of car.
It’s the same with your job search.
Once you know exactly what kind of job you want, you will start to see job openings where you never saw them before. Ideas and employment leads will come to you, almost as if by magic.
It all starts when you know yourself. Try it and see!

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