Jacks-Of-All-Trades Don’t Get Interviews Because…

Standard

As a career coach, I get a lot of emails that go something like this:

Dear J.T.,

I lost my job after working for more than ____ years at the same company. In that time, I had a variety of responsibilities. I worked in a half-dozen departments. As the company changed, I would take on new projects as needed. I was a “Jack-of-all-trades.”

I thought when I lost my job I’d find it easy to get a new one because of all I have done. I’ve got so many skills and abilities, my resume is three pages long. And yet, I can’t seem to get an interview. As I research positions on job boards, I find myself saying, “I can do that!” But, having applied to over 40 jobs, I’ve yet to get a single interview.

What am I doing wrong?

The answer is simple: When you try to look like a match for everything, you match nothing.

A Job Opening = Specific Problem To Solve

When a company has an open position, what they really have is a particular problem that needs to be solved. The person choose to hire will be the one that can solve the problem the best and is priced right. When you are marketing dozens of things about yourself, a/k/a being a Jack-of-all-trades, you overwhelm hiring managers. In fact, you distract them to the point they are unable to see you as a match. Not only do you appear overqualified, but they may also assume you are overpriced as well…resulting in your resume going in the “no” pile.(Here’s a good example of a Jack-of-all-trades who needed to revamp his LinkedIn profile in order to finally stand out to employers.)

The Solution? Become A “Swiss Army Knife” Instead

If you find yourself in the Jack-of-all-trades situation, I suggest you re-tool yourself to appear more like a Swiss Army Knife: be clear in what each of your key skills is good for and demonstrate them with precision. Here’s what to do:

Step 1: Identify the top 5 skill sets you want to leverage in your next position. You have many skills, but you need to focus hiring managers on the skills you are most passionate about using on a daily basis so you can find a job that plays to your strengths.

Step 2: Map out how those skills support an employer in solving a problem. Clarify how will you use these skills specifically to save and/or make the company money. Ask yourself, “What pain will I alleviate when I utilize these skills for an employer?”

Step 3: Quantify your track record of success in these key skills. You need to be able to back up your abilities with facts. Articulate examples of how you have used each of these skills to help an employer so you can justify the cost of hiring you.

Step 4: Optimize your career tools (i.e. resume & LinkedIn profile), so they reflect your problem solving expertise using the skill sets you chose to showcase. Simplify these documents so the text clearly supports your area of focus. Less is more. Give hiring managers enough information to confirm you can do the specific job without overwhelming them. Your career tools should say, “I can do the job you need, but you’ll need to contact me to learn more.” (Here’s an article where I explain why your resume has only 6 seconds to get a recruiter’s attention.)

Finally, Don’t Forget To…

Once you’ve gone from branding yourself as a generalist to a specialist, you need to do one more thing: start a proactive job search. Just because you revamped your professional identity to be better suited for specific jobs, doesn’t mean employers will start responding to your online applications. If you really want to get an employer’s attention, you need to increase your networking efforts so you can spread the word about your special problem solving abilities as a way to get referred into positions. (This article maps out why your resume is useless without the right networking strategy.)

What other tips can readers share to deal with the Jack-of-all-trades challenge? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

P.S. – First time reading my posts? Thanks for taking the time to stop by! Not only do I write for Linkedin, but I’m also founder of the career advice site, CAREEREALISM, and currently run the career coaching program, CareerHMO. I hope you’ll check them both out!

If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also like:

Top Job Interview Tips

Standard

Interview Skills – what really makes a difference?

It’s all pressure isn’t it? Not only do we live and work in a fast paced world, but we also have to be ever adaptable in the world of work, ever-ready to adjust that CV, explore and list our transferable skills, and so on. There’s so much good free information out there these days about how to structure your CV and application forms, that I suspect this has directly impacted on the increasing levels of post-interview disappointment that I am always reading about. Why? Because we’ve become so much better at the “getting the interview” part, that candidates are often failing to then “walk the walk” during the interview. I’ll cover this point in one of the tips.
So, what can be done to improve your chances at the next job interview? I have a number of practical tips for your tool kit. Which ones you adopt will be a matter of personal choice. I advocate all of them of course!

“6 of the best” Job Interview Tips:

• Be tuned in, switched on in advance: At least 30 minutes before you even enter the building, get “in the zone”, relax, breathe, tune in, and be absolutely on your game. Don’t leave it until you walk in the building to tune in.

• “Walk the walk”:
You have ticked all of the boxes in the JD, but do you have relevant and engaging stories for the panel that demonstrate that what you put down on paper lives and breathes for you. These anecdotes should be “locked and loaded” – ready to pull out of the bag as needed during the questions

• Rehearsals!:
This relates to the above point. I’d like you to dig a bit deeper, work a bit harder, at the whole rehearsing the potential answers you might give (to key questions which you will be able to anticipate, knowing the role’s requirements). They should be rehearsed aloud, not in your head. Get used to the sound of your voice, and it’ll pay dividends in terms of confidence and credibility.

• Better company research:
A no brainer? Perhaps, but again, candidates are getting smarter at this. You can download an annual report, get tuned into the company’s vision and objectives of course, but how about connecting with a few (non panel) employees via social networking, and finding out what the key issues are in the company?

• Post interview note:
You will no doubt in the past have followed up an interview with an email note thanking the interviews for their time, and briefly reiterating why you feel you’re right for the role. But how about a hand written, hand delivered card? This can be written out before hand, and left at reception as you leave (or if you’re walked right to the door, then pop back just after!). I’ve know this gesture work many times on a number of levels. The main one is, whether you get the job or not, you will be remembered for such a personalized way of saying thank you. If that idea doesn’t work for you, then a follow up email is a must.

• It’s a business meeting:
This is all about state of mind. If you truly view the interview as a business meeting, it will change the way you approach things slightly – you’ll feel a bit more like you’re sharing the “driving seat”, and I’ve known many cases where the candidate has been successful by adopting this mind-set.

The tips I’ve proposed are assuming you’ve got all the basics locked down; good body language, using their words in the interview, etc. Who’s to say which tips, from any source, are the definitive ones? What I always try to do is add that extra few % for my clients that will make the difference.

Stop Spending Time With Toxic People

Standard
English: A chocolate birthday cake

English: A chocolate birthday cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chocolate cake in ramekin - Yum :)

Chocolate cake in ramekin – Yum 🙂 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cover of "No B.S. Time Management for Ent...

Cover via Amazon

Stop Spending Time With Toxic People

In his book No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs, business coach and consultant Dan Kennedy reveals the steps behind making the most of your frantic, time-pressured days so you can turn time into money. In this edited excerpt, the author explains the people you spend time with affect your productivity and why you should carefully choose who to associate with.

One of the most significant things you can control is association — your choices of who you permit into your world, who you give time to or invest time with, and who you look to for ideas, information and education. The people around you rarely have a neutral effect. They either facilitate your accomplishment, they undermine it, or they sabotage it outright.

The first useful association tactic is the elimination of toxic people and saboteurs. It’s not an easy thing to face facts about a friend, family member, long-time employee or long-time vendor when they are, in some way, interfering with or disapproving of your accomplishment. It’s important to face these facts and to act on them because the more time you spend with people who are unhelpful, unsupportive, disrespectful, envious, resentful, dysfunctional or outright damaging to you, the less value all your time has.

These people don’t just harm the minutes you and they are in the same place. Few people can so perfectly compartmentalize that they can lock every thought, assertion and act of a toxic person in a little mind box and without leakage into other mind boxes. Paraphrasing a Chinese proverb (I found in a fortune cookie), if you lie down with mongrel dogs, even for a short nap, you wake up with fleas — and they ride with you wherever you go.

Ideas, beliefs, opinions and habits work just like that. Even if you’re associating only occasionally or briefly with someone who is intellectually or emotionally toxic or someone who is feckless and inept, it’s enough time for the fleas to leap from them to you, burrow in and be carried away by you to subtly affect your performance and productivity. If your creativity or constructive thinking or work performance is thus diminished, so is the value of your time.

People who are detrimental for you to associate with are not necessarily of evil intent. They may all be “good people,” but that doesn’t mean they’re good for you. Good chocolate cake is not good for a diabetic. In fact, it’s poison. Associating with somebody who is always pushing it to you, saying “Just have a tiny piece” is just as suicidal as baking it for yourself.

There are lots of ways a person can be toxic and poisonous to you. I’ve had clients describe how recurring disputes with a particular employee were mentally exhausting but couldn’t be helped because otherwise, that person was a great asset. The “otherwise” is a big problem. Many small businesses wind up with a ruthlessly defensive key person who goes into murder mode anytime an attempt is made to add a second person but is “otherwise” terrific.

There’s the “we tried that before” guy. If it were up to him, we’d light the place with candles because Edison would have been limited to one try. There’s the “constructive critic,” always making you feel inadequate or undeserving, in the guise of being a cautionary ally worrying over you stubbing a toe.

On the other hand, constructive association with creative, inspiring, encouraging people can do a great deal to bolster your performance, thus making your time more valuable. Each minute of your time is made more or less valuable by the condition of your mind, and it is constantly being conditioned by association.

The entrepreneur is particularly susceptible to gaining or losing power by association because he has so many diverse responsibilities and is often operating under pressure, duress and urgency. Playing this game in a compromised mental state, weakened or wounded by poor ideas and attitudes seeded into the mind by association, is extremely difficult. Playing it strengthened and empowered by rich ideas and attitudes seeded into the mind by association can make the difficult easy.

Simply put, you want to deliberately reduce and restrict the amount of your time left vulnerable to random thought or association, and deliberately, sharply reduce the amount of time given to association with people who won’t make any productive contribution and may do harm. Does that mean you can only spend time with people you are in complete philosophical agreement with? No. In fact, such isolationism can be dangerous. But it does mean you should avoid association with people who believe and promulgate beliefs diametrically opposed to “success orientation.”

You want to deliberately increase the amount of your time directed at chosen thinking and input, and constructive, productive association. You want to associate with strivers and achievers, with winners and champions. This is an uplifting force that translates into peak performance, which makes all your time more valuable.

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230270?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+entrepreneur%2Flatest+%28Entrepreneur%29#ixzz2okOC66Pu

The Donkey Philosophy

Standard
Traditional Animal Nickname: Donkeys/les ânes

Traditional Animal Nickname: Donkeys/les ânes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

MORAL :
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred – Forgive.

2. Free your mind from worries – Most never happen.

3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less from people but more from yourself.

19 Things You’ll Only Appreciate If You Studied Abroad

Standard
Manneken Pis in diving suit (April 2007)

Manneken Pis in diving suit (April 2007) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Manneken Pis Brussel

Manneken Pis Brussel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Manneken Pis statue on platform of JR Hamamats...

Manneken Pis statue on platform of JR Hamamatsucho station in Tokyo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Manneken pis

Manneken pis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Close up of Manneken Pis in Belgian P...

English: Close up of Manneken Pis in Belgian Pride orange colours. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

19 Things You’ll Only Appreciate If You Studied Abroad

 

Share on Google+
11,055
497
0
562
253

GET TRAVEL NEWSLETTERS:

Because as someone famous once said, “the best things you learn aren’t learned in a classroom.”

1. Contrary to every mother’s belief, you won’t even feel sick if you eat gelato for every meal.
Or pizza. Or crepes. Or empanadas. Or anything in the top, bad-for-you section of the food pyramid. We’re on a budget here, people.

Quantcast

 

2. Humans are inherently kind.
Strangers will go far, far out of their way to help you get around. All you must do is ask sincerely and thank copiously.
453313253

3. Just because something is in a guidebook doesn’t mean you have to go look at it.
Exhibit A: Manneken-Pis.
148742123

4. It’s better for everyone if we just pretend Euros are dollars.
Just forget the exchange rate, and stop converting every price to dollars in your head. It causes too much pain.

Quantcast

 

 

5. Ryanair seats do not recline.
…but you could’ve guessed that from the prices.

Quantcast

 

 

6. America is not the center of the universe.
There are other people living on this planet, and they live differently than we do, and they are really happy that way. It’s an awesome thing to realize.
175929948

7. Doner kebab as drunk food is one thousand times better than nachos as drunk food.
Mostly because nobody’s really sure which animal that shaved meat comes from. What a fun, mysterious taste bud adventure!
doner kebab

8. Every person in a hostel is a potential best friend.
And sometimes they’ll agree to travel with you for days or weeks, after knowing you for a mere day. Voilà! Lifelong pals!

Quantcast

 

 

9. Trains don’t always depart when they say they will.
…or ever.

Quantcast

 

 

10. It is not only possible, but socially permissible, to wear the same outfit for seven days in a row 
How else are you going to fit your suitcase into the easyJet carry-on box? All you really need are a few colored scarves… that way, people won’t notice the same T-shirt recurring in photo after photo.

11. English truly is the universal language.
And people who are learning English looove to practice it with you, even if they don’t make sense.

Quantcast

 

 

12. Dinnertime in America is seriously warped.
Why did the Founding Fathers decide to eat at six when everybody else on the planet waits till 10?

Quantcast

 

 

13. Spontaneity is rewarded.
Like that time you snagged the one Euro flight to Finland in an online promo. Or when you bought a last-minute ticket to the show in Ibiza. They weren’t the most logical decisions, to be sure, but they’re memories you’ll replay in your mind forever.
174464143

14. Nothing bonds you like traveling. 
The way to know if you’re truly friends with someone? Food poisoning from the street fruit. Or a seven-hour bus delay. Or Wizz Air.

Quantcast

 

 

15. Studying abroad involves, on average, about four minutes of actual studying.
Shh, don’t tell.

Quantcast

 

 

16. Taxi drivers are some of the greatest people on Earth.
They just love to talk. And they’re so enthusiastic. And they drive you places so you don’t get lost like usual.
doner kebab

17. Traveling solo reveals hidden talents. 
You wouldn’t have thought you could navigate a Czech subway without a map… but you did.

Quantcast

 

 

18. The Guinness Storehouse is a legitimate historical site.
No, we’re not proud of this fact. But at this point, it’s pretty much true.
guinness storehouse

19. Study abroaders are incredibly lucky people.
Very few humans get to spend carefree months exploring the world beyond their hometown, let alone during college. To study abroad is a privilege, and an awesome one at that.
165531339