In my last post, I introduced the idea of marketing you the product through "Power Branding Your Post-50 Job Search." Please take a moment to review the article so you'll gain an understanding of the concepts behind building a unique and powerful presence (your one-of-a-kind brand) in the job market.
One of the critical components of power branding is that you consider yourself a "skills merchant." Too often mature applicants stress their experience levels. You can be rightfully proud of the extensive background you bring, but the "buyers" of you the product (potential employers) are more interested in the skills you've accumulated and mastered. Employers have projects to complete, issues that need to be addressed, and problems that must be resolved. These all require a candidate with the skills to do the job -- therefore skills are your true currency in the job market. So sell them!
But what are your "success skills?" Broadly stated, success skills represent the intersection between the hot-button skills the market is buying and what you love to do. You already know to use job postings as your research tool and identify which skills are currently in demand. You also know to emphasize these skills in your written material (resumes, cover letters) as well as verbally (while networking and during an interview).
But in addition to selling your expertise in skills listed in the various postings (i.e., giving the customer what they want), there are several other factors you'll need to consider:
Play to Your Strengths. How you chose to advertise yourself to potential employers determines their expectations of your job performance. If your resume is loaded with skills you find difficult or distasteful, these are just what you'll be hired to do. So think in terms of skills you enjoy using: ones that come naturally to you, give you energy as you perform them, and inspire your best work. Highlight these skills and you'll be focusing your marketing materials and your energy toward future employment that will be stimulating, fulfilling, and will draw upon your natural strengths.
Cover All the Bases. In my post, "5 Keys to Beating the Age Factor," we talked about selling your skills in each of three categories. This concept is vital to highlighting your success skills in a comprehensive, attention-getting manner. So let's go over these three areas once again -- and this time, record only your success skills.
Make a list of skills that combine skills the market is buying with what you love to do in each of these categories:
Your education and/or specialized knowledge: Consider the types of training and formal education you've had for your work. How do your specific technical skills match the position description and how will they benefit the organization?
Your personal traits and strengths: What makes you unique as an individual? What is your work style? How do you interact with fellow employees? What added value will you bring to the position/company through your individual talents and strengths?
Your transferable skills: How can the broad-based skills you've acquired in previous jobs transfer to achieving in a new position? Are you good at organizing and coordinating? Do you prioritize well? Can you negotiate effectively? Can you communicate well on paper?
Create a Win/Win. Selling yourself through your success skills creates an unbeatable combination of factors. You'll be speaking in terms of hot-button skills employers are demanding in today's job market and, because these skills represent what you enjoy doing, you can't help but describe them with energy and enthusiasm. You'll also be creating the ultimate win/win situation; if you're hired, you'll love what you do and do it so well your employers will love you for it.
So give some thought to what motivates you to perform at your best. Then make certain you can readily identify and speak to your own unique and singular brand of success skills. In my next post, I'll cover ways to take your success skills to the next level and make them come alive through the use of winning examples. So be certain to check back next week.
In the meantime, remember you're a valuable candidate bringing with you highly honed abilities, a wealth of experience, and numerous assets that will benefit any organization that has a need for someone like you. Be proud of all you offer, highlight your success skills, articulate them with enthusiasm and energy, and anticipate success!
Mary Eileen Williams is a Nationally Board Certified Career Counselor with a Master's Degree in Career Development and twenty years' experience assisting midlife jobseekers to achieve satisfying careers. Her book, Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50, is a step-by-step guide packed with tools to turn age into an advantage--techniques for mature applicants to successfully navigate the modern job market and strategies that give them the edge over the competition. Visit her website at Feisty Side of Fifty.com and celebrate your sassy side!
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