In today's unpredictable economy, the idea of job security with any company would seem to be a thing of the past. Large company layoffs, golden handshakes, mergers, leveraged buyouts, company acquisitions and similar business moves have left people of all ages out of a job they need to live.
While there may be some compensation upon being let go from the firm you work for, this money won't last forever. Or, if eligible for unemployment benefits, this also has a finite period of time attached to the check. Sooner or later, job hunting will be necessary.
But it's not only individuals who have been turned out of jobs that this booklet can help. How happy are you in the business you're in? Do you long to do something else with your career? If so, you're not alone. You have plenty of company in wanting to change one's goals and focus in life.
Perhaps you've just turned 40 and realize that you're into the second half of a working career you've never really liked. Studies have shown that working in a job because you have to, not because you like it, can have some effect on an individual's life span. Why take years off your life when you don't have to?
The problem for most people in these situations is that they're not sure where to start. They've either been tossed into this situation unexpectedly and are trying to make decisions on the run or they know that they at least have a paycheck, so they postpone thinking about trying to focus in on a job hunt for something they truly like to do.
Well, cheer up! This booklet will help you re-focus, identify the skills you have, narrow down the type of work you like to do and give you a number of outlets to gather information from in prospects of landing that job that will take you through contentedly into your retirement years. The best news is that this doesn't have to be a long, drawn out process. You can label your transferable skills and acquire helpful data within a few days! It's not a year or two effort we're talking about.
The secret is knowing where to look, what to ask and how to narrow down the type of job you'd not only enjoy, but be pretty good at, too! So much of this is understanding what makes you tick! Who better to identify this than you? This booklet will give you some pointers in doing it, but it will be up to you to take the time to really analyze what it is you like and want to do. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will give you the power to change your life!
Identifying Your Skills
What are you good at?
Have you ever thought about it? In a truly critical, analytical way? Have you actually sat down and listed your skills and capabilities?
This may seem basic, but it's not. Even if you've attempted to start a list, it is very likely you didn't go far enough or deep enough and thus missed a few outlets for your skills that might very well unlock the key to your career future.
The following exercise can help you truly identify the skills you currently use (or maybe not use) and this will set the stage to see if they're transferable to another industry.
There are three major categories of skill identification. You deal with people, things and information everyday. In each category, this requires a skill or combination of several skills. You might not even realize the extent of your ability in an area. You probably know what you're not good at or what you don't like doing, but pinpointing exact skills is not necessarily easy.
People. Let's divide your skills at dealing with people into working with individuals and working with groups.
Individuals: In working with individuals singly, are you good at:
* communicating in direct conversation or on the phone? * communicating well by the written word? * helping, serving or receiving and carrying out instructions? * referring people, or helping put two people together? * advising, monitoring, coaching or counseling? * teaching, instructing, training or tutoring? * persuading, motivating or selling? * assessing, evaluating or interpreting others? * diagnosing, healing or treating?
Groups: In working with organizations, companies or associations, are you good at:
* making presentations? * communicating by written word like a newsletter? * public speaking? * leading or moderating a group discussion? * preparing seminars or other educational events? * training large groups? * consulting or giving advice? * leading or taking the lead? * coaching others in recreation or exercise? * performing, acting, singing, amusing or inspiring? * motivating, persuading or selling? * negotiating a settlement of some kind? * following through, getting things finished, producing? * managing or running a business? * supervising? * initiating or beginning a concept, idea or business?
Think carefully about each of these items. Answer fairly and honestly. There's no reason to try and fool anyone. This is not a personality test! You're simply attempting to frame your likes and dislikes about dealing with individuals, singly or in groups.
Compile your list of definite yes and no answers and write them down. Keep them handy for future reference.
Things. There are, essentially, six major categories of working with various things. These things are identified as objects (tools, instruments), equipment and machinery or vehicles, materials like cloth, wood and clay, your body, buildings or homes and raising or growing things.
Objects. Do you have specific skills in dealing with food, tools, instruments or the like in:
* handling? * washing? * preparing? * maintaining? * producing? * creating? * repairing? * cleaning? * knowledge? * cooking? * preserving? Equipment. Are you good at working with some type of machinery or vehicle in:
* driving? * controlling? * assembling? * repairing? * cleaning? * disassembling? * maintaining? * operating?
Materials. What is your skill level with items such as clay, jewelry, metal, wood, stone and cloth as far as:
* cutting? * painting? * crafting? * restoring? * weaving? * sewing? * carving? * molding? * shaping? * refinishing? * sculpting?
Your Body. Are you good at using:
* your hands? * motor coordination? * physical coordination? * your fingers? * your eyes? * your eyes and hands in coordination? * your strength? * your stamina?
Buildings. Do you have a particular affinity and capability for:
* constructing? * remodeling? * decorating? * designing?
Raising or Growing. Are you able to successfully:
* train animals? * treat animals? * garden? * landscape? * raise plants or animals or other vegetable or mineral?
This is the hands-on category. Do you have manual skills and, if so, what specifically can you do well? More importantly, do you enjoy it? Many people have turned hobbies they love into full-time, paying work. List the skills you have as associated with any of these categories. Also list the things you dislike doing, too. Finding that job you love is as much avoidance of things you hate as things you love to do.
Information. The final category in this part of the evaluation process is seeing how good you are and how much you enjoy working with ideas, concepts, information, specific data and technology. There are four categories to concern yourself with. Do you like creating, storing, managing or putting this information to good use?
Creating. Are you particularly good at:
* gathering information by observation? * gathering information through research? * searching for data? * imagining ideas or concepts? * inventing? * sensory feelings? * designing?
Storing. Once you've assembled the information are you good at:
* storing or filing records in file cabinets, microfiche, audio or video cassette? * bookkeeping? * computer storage? * retrieving the information once stored? * helping others retrieve the information? * keeping track of details? * memorizing? * filming or recording? Managing. You must do something with the data or information you've assembled and stored. Are you good at:
*analyzing your data? * organizing? * classifying? * planning? * accounting? * writing? * painting? * drawing? * problem solving? * evaluating your data? * programming? * prioritizing? * decision-making? * dramatizing? * comparing with other data? Using The Data. Once you've decided to use the information, are you good at:
* disseminating the information? * demonstrating? * putting it to some use? * showing it to individuals or groups? * publishing? * reporting?
At this point, you should total up your positives and negatives (what you don't like or aren't very good at) in this category. You now have three categories and you should combine the lists of advantages and disadvantages to see what your strong suit(s) are. You may find that you like observing people and taking this information and writing a script and then putting it on video or film. This comes from seriously analyzing each of these categories and finding a consistency in what you love and what you're good at. Your next step would be to look at more specifics rather than generalities.
Specifics: It's time to look at items you specifically like to work with. The following list should help you check yes or no to a number of things. Keep in mind that this is by no means a complete list and you should add your own thoughts to this of items you either like or dislike to make it more complete. Remember, this is your list, your career, your life, so make it as close to what fits you as possible. We're merely giving you suggestions to help your frame of reference.
Office Products: Clothing: - desk - all types of clothes - computer - dyes - switchboard - shoes and boots - word processor - sewing machine - pen or pencils - umbrella, raincoat, poncho - printers - buttons or zippers - software - patterns - office machines - knitting
Household Goods: Material:
- furniture - paper - appliances - stone - dishes - aluminum - laundry - cement - blankets - pottery - wallpaper - plants - clocks - bricks - pots and pans - wood - burglar/fire alarms - bronze - chimneys - pewter - carpet - cloth - paint - steel - tools - brass - tents - papier-mGchT
- television - calculator - camera - money - stereo - adding machine - videotape recorders - money market accounts - radios - cash register - radar equipment - ledgers - movie equipment - financial records - tape recorder - stocks - records,CDs,cassettes - futures
- musical instrument - telephone - games - short-wave radios - gambling - telegraph - board games - answering machines - sporting events - fax machines - kites - printers
- bicycles - x-ray machines - automobiles - lab testing - trains - medicine - airplanes - prosthetics - hot air balloons - dental equipment - boats - anesthetics - subways - vitamins - motorcycles - hearing aids - RV's - eyeglasses Equipment: Miscellaneous:
- guns - books - gym apparatus - newspapers - fishing rods - videos - lawnmowers - magazines - garden tools - overhead transparencies - rakes - candles - traps - batteries - axes - lasers - pesticides - engravings - plows - lithographs - harvesters - paintings - threshers - silk-screens - shovel or pick - microscope - tractor - telescope - handtrucks - toys - sander - food - drill - wine or beer making
Your list should be fairly complete. If you've followed your true nature, you should begin to see a pattern; similarities indicating the type of work you were destined to do. If your interest is in film and cameras and filmmaking, that will be clear as you review your likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses from these lists. Now you need to refine and focus.
Cutting Down the Territory
Next. let's look at specific knowledge you might possess. Run through the following list, add to it and list the knowledge you currently have. Second, go through the list again and identify the knowledge you would like to have. This will give you two current snapshots: what you know now and what you'd like to know in the future. The latter will define your future educational goals. It may be in areas you believe you'd enjoy if only you had a little more education.
No problem. It may be that a little more learning is needed to advance into what you truly want to do. There's no reason you can't take classes in those specific disciplines. There's no reason you can't work at an entry- level position in that industry and learn as you go. Often, a company may pay for your future education if it is in the skill areas of their field. So list the desires as well as your current expertise.
* psychology * chemistry * physics * cinema * foreign language * management * personnel recruiting * insurance benefits * geography * history * art * broadcasting * accounting * taxes * marketing * sales * computer programming * aerobics * graphic arts * religion * horticulture * government contracts * politics * teaching * interior design * architecture * vehicle repair * travel * systems analysis * astronomy * research * packaging and distribution * import/export * merchandising * machine operation * graphic arts * photography
List all of the fields you like in priority arranged by most knowledge of and likes. List the fields you are interested in and believe you'd like but need more training and education. Keep these lists handy and separate.
Now, it's time to decide location. Are you tired of where you live? Would you like to live somewhere else? Is this the town you grew up in but have never seen any other place? Have you gone somewhere on vacation and thought about how great it would be to live there?
Part of cutting down the territory and focusing your job search efforts is to select the area you'd like to practice your skills and talent and apply them to a wage paying job. There's not much progress made if you find work you like but you still dislike everything else about your living situation. Finding a good job also means finding it in the location you like best.
So, get out to the library and consult a couple of publications like Places Rated Almanac and identify your top five places to live. Narrow down an area and then specific towns. Then, find out the number for the local Chamber of Commerce and see how you can get more information about not only the place itself but the businesses located in the area that are in the field(s) you've narrowed down for yourself. These local chambers are glad to send out information and would be equally happy to see you move in and become a member of the community. There are lots of tremendous places to live in this country. Take advantage of it!
You say you're interested in Arizona? Where? Phoenix? Tucson? Kingman? Bullhead City? Pick an area and start to accumulate information. If it's possible to visit, by all means get out and see it.
Now you have areas and locations and lists of businesses in those areas. Now's the time to narrow it down. Select the top two areas and hone in on finding work.
Update your resume. There are dozens of books out there on this subject. Craft it the way the experts suggest. Do it by skills if that tells more about you than where you've actually worked. Find out about local schooling programs in the areas of your choice in the event you need further education in the areas you want to do more with. Don't move anywhere that doesn't have jobs in the areas you like and are good at or intend to improve your skills.
Finally, begin to make contacts with personnel. Find out if there are local job hot-lines and other employment identification features. Certainly make contact with specific businesses that you've already identified as possibilities.
As you start to accumulate your information with which to narrow down the territory in terms of location, skills and interest, there are a number of resources you can tap, the majority of which are either free or have a nominal cost to obtain the information that can help you decide your future.
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