Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Bringing the job market and marketplace into focus – Part 4: identifying your strengths for moving forward

Posted in job search and career development by Timothy Platt on August 13, 2010

This is the fifth installment to a series I am developing on job search and career management in a time of economic and marketplace change and uncertainty (see postings 89 through 92 counting a comment reply posting added here yesterday.) At the end of Part 3 to this series I offered a hands-on exercise that I provided as a tool for finding a new career path forward if the type of work you have been doing is not available. Basically, the goal of that exercise is to work on developing a list of all of the skills, experience and interpersonal qualities that you offer, that you can cite and build upon in identifying and seeking out new types of work opportunity. When you have to make a career change that goes in scale beyond simply looking for a similar job to your most recent one, or some next linear progression position up from that, you want to search from a solid understanding of what you have to offer and of what you find rewarding and positively motivating.

So this exercise is intended to help you build a resource list, and in this it parallels the comprehensive reference materials resume that you might assemble as a minable resource for writing a focused resume for a specific position. But it is also an exercise designed to help you look outside of your usual patterns, and with a clearer basis for finding new possibilities and new types of possibility.

Organize your lists developed from this exercise into broad categories, starting with lists of hands-on more technical skills, interpersonal skills and whatever other major categories jump out at you as being particularly relevant to you. This is just a first draft for bringing your lists into focus, so do this with a goal of identifying and filling in gaps for potential entries you did not initially think to include.

Think about your work history and about the activities you have been involved in and the skills you have used where you have found your work most rewarding and satisfying. Now start to order your list from most to least important to you with your strongest list entries moved to the top. This is not the type of exercise that can be best done in a single, rapid, intense session. Work on it and set it aside to take a walk or have a meal and come back to it with fresh eyes again.

I have been writing about fundamental changes that are underway in our economy and in the work and marketplace in series like:

Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time,
Reexamining the Fundamentals, and
Macroeconomics and Business

and I have also touched on some of these issues in my other ongoing series, definitely including:

Business Strategy and Operations and
Startups and Early Stage Businesses.

I have in fact been posting throughout this blog with this developing pattern of fundamental change in mind. But much of what I have been writing about regarding this change has been general and abstracted from the more precise focus needed for any particular job search. The next posting in this series will build upon the work you have been doing with the exercises presented so far, and its goal is to help you bring your strengths into alignment with at least a first draft understanding of what you can realistically, effectively search for now. If you have been doing a longer term Plan B job search (see postings 56 through 72) but without success, this may very well be in a new direction for at least one or more criteria that you would consider career defining. That, however, is good if your ongoing search experience indicates that the job market for the type of work you have been doing is gone, or at least slowed down and reduced enough to effectively be gone for now.

This series is about reconsidering what you do and with fresh, informed eyes so you can make more effective decisions and take more proactively effective actions moving forward. And like the Plan B job search series cited above, it is all about what you do in follow-through.

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