If you’re ready to get started, here’s more information to help you along the way.
Leveraging Your Skills
I love Janie’s view on how we all need to let go of the notion that we should only leverage the skills we gain through education or on the job. As a previous HR professional, I completely agree. We need to remember to factor in our life experiences, especially the soft skills we’ve gained from family, friends, teachers, and mentors along the way. Why? It’s through those relationships that we develop the soft skills that will ultimately differentiate us from others in our profession, regardless of what it is.
What are soft skills you ask? They are our listening and communication skills. They are our ability to multitask, prioritize, be dependable, etc. Those things can’t be taught. Sure they can, as Janie mentioned, “be polished,” through education and experience, but not taught.
And yes, there may always be someone who is more intelligent or knowledgeable than you. Through continuing education, seminars, etc. however, you’re likely to be that intelligent and knowledgeable too one day. Unfortunately for some though, there’s not a single continuing education opportunity that will help make them personable or good with people. That’s why not everyone can be an effective leader, manager, or go-to person.
So don’t discard the times you were picked to be in charge of your brothers and sisters, the classroom, solving a problem, or settling an argument. All of those skills are what help mold us into leaders, negotiators, financial planners, caretakers, cooks, etc. Leverage it all!
Mentors and Advocates, Oh My!
Mentors are amazing, but if you’ve never thought about creating advocates for yourself, you’re missing out!
As you may know, mentors are those experienced and trusted professionals in your field, which are happy to take you under their wing and provide you with a wealth of knowledge and resources. They’re not only there to help guide you and be your cheerleader, but to also provide constructive feedback along the way. As they get to know you and everything you have to offer, they also become great advocates. But imagine how much easier life would be if we were able to convert more people into advocates?
I don’t know about you, but I struggle with self-promotion. That’s why the idea of creating advocates where ever I go, sounds so appealing to me. The crazy thing is that whether we realize it or not, someone is always watching. Everyone from co-workers, to clients, to people we meet at networking events, to friends, and even family. If you’re always late on deadlines, never giving more than you have to, or blame others for your mistakes, etc. there’s no way that anyone who sees that, will put their name on the line to refer you for anything. However, if you’re always seen as giving your best, going above and beyond, accountable, etc. then that makes it easier for anyone and everyone that sees it, to become an advocate and recommend you for anything. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Allowing our work to speak for us even when we’re not around?
I know for me it’s especially rewarding when people I didn’t even work with directly, become advocates for me. Talk about a confidence booster! That’s why you should always bring your best and be your best when interacting, connecting, and building relationships with everyone you meet.
Getting Your Dream Job
So as you visualize your dream job, don’t forget to factor in all your skills, especially those soft skills that can differentiate you from others seeking the same position. Then lay out a game plan. But don’t just list how you’re going to gain the knowledge and technical skills needed. List who you want to approach about being your mentor. List how you’re going to intentionally use your soft skills to positively impact your work and your relationships with everyone you meet. Then as Janie said, just do it. Sure, you may stumble or fall along the way, that’s normal. It’s what you learn and how you grow from these experiences that keeps you moving toward the life you want.
Just remember to give back. Not only by honoring all who brought you to where you’re at, but to those who hope to one day be where you are. Become a mentor and/or advocate for others and see the goodness continue to flourish in your own life.
How have you or will you leverage your skills, mentors, & advocates to land your dream job?