No matter what position you hold in the office, the military, or at home, your given job title should not limit your ability to be successful in pursuing your career field of interest. Think of yourself as an ongoing marketing campaign, targeting the career you’ve always wanted – the dream job. Focusing solely on your job title to define your skills, experience, and education, can limit your career path and direction. For instance, just because you lack “Manager” or “Senior…” within your given position title doesn’t necessarily mean that you lack the corresponding experience. This is particularly relevant to our military veterans.
Does the position of interest require management experience? Are you hesitant to apply for the position because you have not had “Manager” in your job title? Start with answering these questions:
- Have you ever been put in charge of something?
- Do you or have you volunteered for an organization where you were in a leadership role?
- Have you taken the initiative to create something new, to make something, make business operations more efficient, or save money?
- Have you mentored or trained a group or another colleague with outstanding results?
- Have you ever led a project, task, or program?
If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you have management experience.
Unfortunately, most career-minded employees bound their thinking, and focus on rigid adherence to roles spelled out in their job description. The key to changing this behavior is to look holistically at your working experience and assess activities within this experience that point toward your desired profession, while investigating, pursuing, and achieving milestones which balance suitability for desired employment and attractiveness to potential employers.
- Volunteer for an organization to learn new skill sets and gain experience.
- Show initiative in your current position by volunteering for a special project.
- Seek out advancement and promotion opportunities within your organization.
- Propose a new idea on the job that may improve processes or conditions.
- Join a professional group and volunteer for a committee leadership position.
- Are you a subject matter expert? Propose to assist in training fellow employees.
You will set yourself apart from your peers simply because you’re investing in learning and applying new skill sets and experiences. Once you master the basics of what you’ve learned, your professional experience becomes more attractive to hiring managers and you’re better equipped to market your professional background with more confidence, simply because you have gained knowledge about other things outside of your job title.
Conduct a Skills Inventory
We must reflect on and inventory what we have to offer: Transferable skills, experience, knowledge, challenges, business ethic and values. The purpose behind this necessary reflection process is to discover alternative ways of describing who you are. You cannot restrict your definition of yourself to your current or previous job title. The more you reflect and take note of who you really are what you really have to offer, the quicker you will identify the true value you can bring to the table.