There are many stories online of people being laid off during this pandemic. So many people that have been with their current employer for many years. Decades of history with a particular company. It’s not a matter of loyalty anymore, or what you have given for your boss. It’s coming down to a matter of dollars and cents. If your employer cannot afford to keep you, this could be the time you must look at yourself and what you’ve learnt so you can sell yourself.
I have many marketable skills now that I did not have five years ago. I came to my current job with a background in administration, 20 years previously. After having special needs children, I remained at home to look after them, run to therapy, eventually homeschooling one of them.
But after resuming work, in a more modern era than I worked before, I have learnt so much! And every single thing I have learnt, is something other employers look for. I have been lucky enough to learn from someone who took a hands on approach, teaching by showing, and learnt more than my own role.
You might have become settled into your role and become complacent. But have you stopped and truly looked at what you do, daily, at work? What is different about you now, as opposed to when you began your current job?
I know I am more confident. If anyone had told me five years ago I would write an article and people would read it, I would have looked completely stunned! Knowing my job and the industry I am employed in, means I can be comfortable talking with anyone about the procedures, setbacks, and benefits. Being able to fly interstate to visit clients, and confidently tell them about our services, enforces the idea that I am now a professional. Have you listed your biggest wins on your LinkedIn or CV?
I have so many computer skills! Once terrified of the cloud, I now live there. Everything is uploaded, or worked on purely on the cloud. I can access files from my computer, laptop, or phone, depending on where I am at the time. I have helped create calculators in spreadsheets. I missed computing in school, that was after my time. So spreadsheets were absolutely foreign to me. Knowing I can take, and manipulate, data to help my profession empowers me to know I am doing my job in a way that benefits both sides of the deal. Does your resume list all computer programmes you are comfortable using?
Having a knowledge of the workings of the office, means I can look after our team, providing everything they need to work comfortably. From purchasing office supplies, to ordering services for the printer or perhaps a secure waste bin, there are many tasks that are used to run a professional office. Have you learnt those and listed them as skills?
Do you know how to prioritise? You can tell any prospective employer you are able to make any potential sale, partner, client, or colleague feel valued and important. I constantly hear how quick I am to return a call. One potential client was surprised I had saved his number in my phone so I could talk to him even when I was on leave. I am ALWAYS being told how grateful people are that I replied to their email, after they received my auto-reply stating I was away from the office. I do not reply to everyone, and sorry to say even though I am a workaholic, I can’t possibly talk to everyone that needs me. But I do know how to prioritise my time. I feel it is a very important skill that can be used to sell yourself in an interview.
During interviews, many employers ask what your best assets are. What skills you have that define you from other applicants. You can list so many different tasks that you have learnt instead of repeating the same things everyone else says at their interviews.
- List what you have learnt: It might not be formal learning. It might be something you taught yourself. It might be something a colleague has worked with you on.
- List strengths that might not be listed in the job role: Perhaps you organised the office staff, kept everyone in supplies, and made sure rosters and timetables were upheld. Were you the one who motivated staff in tough times, or helped with team bonding?
- Mention things you helped contribute: Perhaps you helped instigate a major change? Did you assist with updating policies or plans? Were you part of a team that overhauled some systems? You might not have come up with the idea, but you can tell how you went above and beyond.
These are very difficult times and employers are people too. They are getting hit hard by their bottom line. Cuts are being made, and they don’t want to let you go. But if you have been unlucky enough to be released from your job, no matter how long you’ve been there, take stock of what skills you have now that you didn’t have before.
Stay positive. Look confident. And even try to apply for positions slightly outside your range. You can overshoot! Reach high and at the very least you’ll learn something from the interview process. Every firm is different, their hiring processes all unique. Getting shortlisted can help motivate you to come across more confident in your next interview. Go for it! There is absolutely nothing holding you back!