_I speak heresy here as "transferable skills" have been the mantra of career changers since Dick Bolles wrote What Color is You Parachute in 1972. But they just don't completely work anymore.
They are supposed to convince an employer that you can do his job though you have experience in a different function or a different industry or both. This has worked through at least 3 decades and 3 recessions up to the dot.com bust and 2001 recession. Then the game started changing.
Back story first. What are transferable skills? They are a list of action verbs that best describe your abilities. Google it or look in Wikipedia. You will find lists galore or better still buy Parachute as it is the absolute best source. It really helps to be able to pinpoint exactly which skills are your best ones that you love and excel at using. It used to be that well a articulated set of skills were enough to convince an employer in an interview and on a resume that you were a good fit for the position. Or at least worth consideration.
Fast forward to 2008 and the Great Recession. With an abundance of talent to choose from, employers now demand that a potential employee have a unique set of transferable skills and have used them specifically in their particular industry or field. They have a list qualifications they want and they check it off with every candidate's resume or profile they see. At the top of the list is knowledge/experience in the industry or field.
The stakes are raised, the options are narrowed, the doors are closing. Or are they? Not if you lead with the relationship and not the resume. People hire people they like or get to like by meeting them informally not in an interview situation. If you approach your job search in that fashion then your resume won't end up in some recruiter's file 13 (trash bin).
That means you don't bare your soul and entire resume on social networking profiles like Linkedin.com, but rather use the sites to exhibit a well crafted and branded advertisement about who you are instead. People expect you to have profiles online so manage the message and talk about yourself in a way that minimizes the transition or career change you are trying to make. When you lead with the relationship then you can speak to your knowledge about the sector.
You can demonstrate your experience by being able to "talk shop" about the sector and industry. That means you do in-depth research to be able to demonstrate your knowledgeable competency. Being able to drop names, mention studies, refer to articles, speak about key products and talk about trends makes you "one of the group". The effort it takes to explain and justify how your skills transfer doesn't measure up in comparison to the impression you can make just "talking shop".
I have seen professionals hired without ever providing a resume. They finally filled out the employment application during the interview process. Leading with the relationship allows you to talk about your accomplishments and the sector you are trying to break into in a way that makes the impression that you can do the job. It is the best tactic to use to skip past your lack of actual experience in a specific industry.
__A professional website's purpose is to raise your name search to the top of Google, provide a controlled, managed platform to deliver well branded information about you compared to Linkedin's cookie-cutter template. It utilizes great photography, graphic imagery and well-done content to paint the most flattering portrait of you, your talents, your background, and your value proposition.
It is interesting how actual web development for individuals and small businesses is now a commodity and many template driven sites offer a both a platform and hosting to build to build a professional website not just a blog.
I use the term professional website instead of the cutsy word online portfolio because that is what it is. I believe every professional needs one now to control their brand, Google ranking, and the message and image they project. A website will do that for you. Unless you are a big ecommerce site or online data repository, having a custom built website long-term costly as keep on paying with charges for every update and change. Use the free template-based sites provided by Google, Yahoo, GoDaddy, Yola, Wix and Wenode.
What really matters now is content: both visual and written. And that makes photographers, web/graphic designers and expert content writers the key value contributors for websites. The ability to write great marketing and branding copy for beautifully photographed and illustrated products, services, and people is now king.
What are the key things to consider when building a professional website and blog?
It's never too late to make a great first impression online with your own professional website!
If you want to learn more about putting together a well-branded website, contact me for a free consult on my website http://www.pattiwilson.com
_An engineer from Slovakia has loyalty to the American company he works for in Australia because he is waiting for his Australian green card. This is the global twist on the job=citizenship situation that has run rampant in the USA for years with immigrant professionals. Now it seems with many professional seeking opportunities out of their home countries that this type of hostage employee is global.
The term wage slave has has taken on a new meaning with a scarcity of good employment opportunities in some countries while more plentiful in others, greater numbers of job seekers are being held for visa ransom by some company in Brazil, Singapore, Canada.
The worse offender used to be the USA but more professionals are seeking opportunities elsewhere now given the decline of the US economy. Interesting I met an Indian executive who wanted advice on a job search in India from the USA. He had spent the last 12 years in the US working for the top Fortune 500 companies. He was finally just getting his green card and decided to just leave it all behind and go home for better opportunities. He was fortunate as he loved the company he worked for.
The funny thing about employee loyalty is that it is engendered by either a scarcity of jobs or a devotion to the employer and the product. However, if a professional needs a company to employ and sponsor them to obtain a visa to stay in a country then enforced loyalty is tantamount to being held hostage to the job.
Most professionals I have met in this situation felt powerless to control their destiny but I have a few simple suggestions to at least mitigate the impact of visa situation on your employment.
_Maybe I should just leave this blog post to the title and leave it at that. Everybody gets it or do they? My mantra to my clients has been, "the key to standing out and getting ahead is to create a clear message about who you are and what you have to offer".
I am just finishing up processing about 30 requests to join a linkedin.com group I founded awhile back. I have been amazed with the self-descriptions on the linkedin.com profiles and headlines that I reviewed. They were either job titles or a vague gushing exuberance of descriptive prose that could possibly define many professional including me.
Here are some examples:
"visionary leader and motivator of teams"
"deadline driven project manager"
"builds, transforms and leads global operations for technology companies"
"premier relationship manager"
You get idea. What surprises me, in the age personal branding banter that seems to be happening in chats, forums, and posts online, is that working professionals have not learned how to express their key attributes, and abilities in a clear, specific, and unique style. Many seem to resort to fluff and buff descriptions that lack substance and worthwhile information.
I would suggest whenever you write self-descriptions or personal marketing that you ask yourself if the wording is so vague, generic and superficial that is could define your competition. If that's the case, then work with someone to draw out and make note of your unique contributions through accomplishment stories that you tell them. It's an age old practice, the doing of accomplishment stories but it really works.
I have never subscribed to the hire-a-resume-writer/brander who takes your 4 page filled out personal data form, goes away and writes a flourishing description of you. The trouble with that is that you don't own it and will not be able to easily to speak to those statements with greater detail and depth.
Tell stories, take notes, get friends to listen and provide feedback and input. You will be pleased with the results that will translate into a resume, an elevator pitch and social profile.
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