By Dickie Sykes
Since the recession began in December 2007, more than 8 million jobs have been lost with unmarried women taking a large hit. “While the country’s economic decline has touched all Americans, its effect on unmarried women has been devastating,” said Page Gardner, President and Founder of Women’s Voices Women Vote (WVWV).
The timing is ripe for women to take greater control of their destiny. There is a severe shortage of talent in the labor pool and women graduate from college and have far more degrees than men. Another powerful tool that women have and don’t use is their buying power; women account for and influence over 83 percent of all buying decisions, that’s a lot of buying power. Women know why women buy and know how to convince them to buy more. They are the walking, breathing psychology behind buying. They also lead with both sides of their brain, exhibiting both the analytical as well as the creative. Women have a higher value in today’s workplace, writes Claire Shipman, one of the writers behind ABC News’ “Womenomics” blog. Shipman points to a Pepperdine University survey that found that companies that promoted more females made more money. Being unemployed can be the perfect time to reflect, reevaluate, rejuvenate and chart a brand new course.
Let’s begin by asking, ‘Who are you?’
Play the Match Game
The first thing you must do in the course of charting your own destiny is some ME analysis and ask yourself, ‘Who am I? I know sometime women are afraid they don’t know the answer, but its time you found out. If you could have any three jobs in the world, what would they be? List them. Now, title three columns on a piece of paper, ‘Skills’, ‘Talent’ and ‘Passion’ and write down what yours are; it may take awhile. Be able to quantify your skill set with examples; what have you done, where have you done it and how have you performed? Write down the number of hours per week you’re willing to work towards your passion and for how long. Now with list in hand, is there a match between skills, talent and passion to what you’ve always done, what you’re currently doing or with what you want to do, which is the three jobs listed? The key to charting your own destiny and having the career of your dreams, whether working for yourself or someone else is to match and connect your skills, talent and passion to your career.
Have a Bull’s-eye
Too many job seekers are reactive and send out tons of resumes and/or show up to hot, crowded job fairs without having a strategic approach. To hear Donald Trump’s famous words, ‘you’re hired’ you must have a strategic plan-of-action that includes research, networking and becoming an expert in the brand called you. Have a bull’s eye approach. Look at all companies large and small, for profit and not, federal, state and city agencies and educational institutions. Have a target list of companies. Do they have positions that you can transfer your skills, talent and passion? When you take a bulls-eye approach you automatically position yourself above your competition because you have matched your skills, talent and passion to targeted industries, companies and positions. Your time and effort in this endeavor will greatly enhance your job search experience and place you in a position of ultimate power.
Facebook, I Don’t Think So
Whenever you get the opportunity to sell your skills, talent and passion in person do so as nothing beats face-to-face networking. As far as social networking sites go, they can be very useful but be careful when sharing career aspirations or making inquiries, let your information be short, specific and concise. Don’t use social sites to vent your frustration or tell the world how long you’ve been out of work. Never talk about or post negative comments about your current or previous employer. I know some of you may have to pop a Prozac on that one but don’t do it. Employers are known to search your name so use a professional email name not SexyGraphicDesigner@gmail.com.
Think Like a Man and Know Your Value
Too many women devalue and disregard their skills. I’ve heard many women say, I only do volunteer work or I’m just a mother or l could never go after that job because it pays too much money. I can’t remember the last time I heard a man state that he could not pursue a job because it paid too much money; hello, really, a man is not going to pursue a job because it pays too much, yeah right. Know yourself, know your value. Honor, respect and think highly of your skills and talent. Start saying a short, daily confidence mantra “I’m worthy” and add to it as you make that conscious shift in internal perception.
Create a unique resume
Before you start uploading, reloading, faxing, mailing or handing out resumes make sure you know the answers to these four critical questions:
1. What am I qualified to do?
2. Why am I qualified to do it better than my competition?
3. Where have I done it?
4. How well have I performed?
You should have some of these questions answered from playing the match game. Make sure you quantify your success and have three to five examples of accomplishments. Search the internet to see the latest resume formats and styles. Look into creating an internet-based resume. One website to check out is www.visualcv.com and sign up is free. Whatever approach you decide, make sure it is professional looking and error free. There are many free resources to help you develop an up to date resume. If you are not technically astute, seek the help of your tech savvy children, nieces and nephews. There are no longer any excuses for not having a sharp resume. Remember a job interview is about what you offer, want and expect from the employer versus what the employer is looking for, needs, offers and will provide. Let your value provide the answer to their needs.
Research has proven that women talk to connect and share but the interview process is about how well your answers match the job requirements. It’s still all about the match game. When you practice active listening, you will hear the interviewer giving you valuable information about the position, their needs and what they’re looking for. That is a perfect opportunity to directly discuss how you can meet their needs and satisfy their requirements. What’s the formula for listening? I have lots of tips on my audio CD but let this be your reminder: You have one mouth and two ears, so listen twice as much as you talk.
Connect with Dickie Sykes at Examiner.com and leave a comment.