Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

5 Ways to Move Forward Using Job Skills

Your unique talents, interests, and skills lead to your best career options. Job skills move you forward. But insecurity lurks nearby, ready to demoralize you. It’s easy to focus on barriers and what you lack instead of what you have, and what you could learn in the future.

If you’re in high school or college, you may bemoan your lack of “real world” work experience and connections. If you’re changing careers, you may dread the prospect of starting from scratch again – and taking on student loan debt at the same time. Add more stress and physical discomfort to this list if you’re disabled or newly disabled. And in these difficult economic times, the term “transferable skills” may spell doom as part of an anxious search for an angle to get employed.

To be successful with choosing a new career, you have to be optimistic and realistic. Here are 5 ways to move forward using your skills:
  1. Lose the negativity and evaluate your skills as objectively as possible. Everyone, from high school students to retirees, has skills. And just because someone says you can or cannot do something well is not the end of the story. That person may be right or wrong, but you know your track record best. Start with this exercise to identify your skills.
  2. Decide on your short-term and long-term goals and list possible ways to reach them. Do you just want a new job ASAP to pay bills? Or are you looking for a long-term solution? Making a good career decision is a start. Dig deep for what the real issues are. It’s one thing to dislike your boss, it’s another to dislike the work you do and everyone you work with. One is fixed by moving employers, the other probably means you need a new career.
  3. Make a plan and make small steps to complete it every week. The 3 steps of that plan are knowing yourself, knowing your options, and making a good decision. More...
  4. Get organized with folders and start writing things down. Even with PCs and the Internet, it’s amazing how more concrete and satisfying something seems when it’s printed or written down. Buy inexpensive jazzy folders if it makes you more likely to use them.
  5. Connect with people who will help you. You may need to phase out certain relationships and start new ones. If you need convincing, think of someone whose accomplishments you admire. I guarantee that focusing on negative people around them did not make him or her successful. Informational interviews in career fields that interest you are a great way to start meeting new, inspiring people who can help you.
If you found this helpful, you may also want to read my post about how to add new skills to your list.

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