How to stretch your skill set.

To keep in step with the previous blog about self promotion I decided to talk a little more about the subject and tell you about a required lecture I had to sit in on today prior to me graduating from Suffolk University.

The lecture revolved around getting on the upward spiral after you receive your MBA.  I was pretty skeptical about this lecture seeing as I’ve been in the working world before and the outline we were given did not interest me for the exception of the “5 things they don’t tell MBA’s.”

Deb Rosenbloom, our lecturer from the Hancock Leadership Group, was able to rework the presentation when she realized we have all had experience and are either unemployed or full-time students heading into an internship.

The two main things I took away from this lecture were:

1. Be persistent and relevant. Deb told us how when she was looking for work in an industry that was outside of her previous skill set she contacted the recruiter anyway and insisted that some specific skills that she did have directly related to the position at hand and having them would allow her to excel in the job.  After being politely persistent she was granted an interview and got the job.

So, this leads me to take back what I told Richard and Alison in one of my comments and how I am viewing my job search.  You may not fit all five requirements but if you relate to the employer and relate the skills you do have to the job and prove that they will help you excel and exceed expectations then you may have a shot at the job you are after.

2. Passion, enthusiasm and tenacity are just as important as skills. This one really spoke to me because as I mentioned earlier it seems that a lot of employers are overlooking candidates who may do a much better job than the ones they do hire.  This may simply be due to the fact that the previously mentioned “under qualified” candidates may not fit the required skill set 100%.  I have even toned down my own search efforts to companies and jobs that fit my exact skills.  Unfortunately, for many, this may mean settling for less.

Currently the job pool is like the housing market.  It’s a buyers world out there and the buyers are the employers.  There are so many candidates to choose from that they really don’t need to settle for the guy or gal that doesn’t have all the skills when someone right behind him or her does have everything they are looking for.

Unfortunately, for employers this may mean that this “perfect” candidate is stale and is not on his or her upward spiral. What I mean is that a candidate with a couple of missing skills may be a lot more wiling to take on the task of learning and perfecting those missing skills in order to prove the managers wrong than a candidate who knows everything and doesn’t feel like he or she needs to go above and beyond.

So what can you do? I am now convinced that with persistence and relevance you can get the chance to show your true passion for the job and how enthusiastic you would be to work for a company that not only fits the skills you do have but also interests you on a personal level!  This personal interest will make you care that much more for the outcome of a project and company and it’s something you need to highlight to the employer!

Once you do land that job put these “5 secrets MBA’s aren’t told” to work:
1. Hard work is good, landing the right assignment is better. What seems “cool” may not get you the visibility you deserve.
2. You won’t know it all. Ask intelligent questions and remember that others around you may have the same question but may not have the guts to ask it.
3. Never let them see you sweat. Keep your emotions at bay and remember to not take impulsive actions…let your nerves settle!
4. Mistakes are opportunities. Own up and say how you’ll do the right thing next time around.
5. Feedback is critical. Sometimes you may need to manage up to get that feedback but if you want to grow you must ask for it, and take it with a grain of salt if some of it is a criticism.

Get out there!  Climb that mountain and contact that recruiter or hiring manager again and prove to them that YOU are what they need.

What did you do today?

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