By Lindsey Pollak, Nicky Garcea
Not long ago—even though it might seem that way—a tight employment market put job candidates in the driver’s seat, as companies pulled out all the stops to woo applicants. Although that dynamic shifted abruptly, no matter where you are in your career, it’s imperative to grasp both your realized and unrealized strengths so you can confidently make career decisions that will be both successful and rewarding.
If you are an early career job seeker:
The first challenge is knowing how to look for a job that not only meshes well with where you excelled in school, but also is appealing to you. The most obvious direction might not be optimal—it is all too easy to fall into a trap of saying, “Oh, I’m good at math so I should be an accountant” or, “I pursued an engineering degree so I should go straight to tech.” The good news is that today’s career paths are much more flexible. Math whizzes who also enjoy research could work as financial analysts, and engineers who love design could end up in marketing roles.
The key is to determine both what you are good at, what you enjoy, and what gives you energy, a.k.a. your strengths. Knowing your strengths provides language to talk about what you are looking for in a role that not only makes you appear focused and self-aware to employers, but also allows you to translate these assets into a descriptive language for sharper cover letters and interviews.
For example, through Cappfinity’s Virtual Experience and Engagement (VEE) platform, progressive talent leaders are helping early career job seekers learn more about themselves through a series of self-assessments, strengths development exercises and work simulations. VEE helps job seekers identify the type of work and workplaces that would be a good match. Paired with coaching and skill development, VEE provides everything job seekers need to approach the career journey with confidence.
Here are some additional tips for today’s tight labor market:
If you are a career changer:
For someone who wants to move to an entirely new industry but is not sure how to make that happen, fear of the unknown can be a showstopper. Taking steps to make a career change during a pandemic is challenging. However, people can and do move between fields all the time—the key is to identify your transferable skills and adopt vocabulary that will help you articulate them to a potential new employer. To aid your job search consider starting with an assessment, you can determine your transferrable skills and identify a career path you never considered or use the results as confirmation you are on the right track.
Putting your strengths to work is critical. Your excitement and enthusiasm will aid your search, involuntarily show up during interviews, and in your work.
If you are an executive:
When you’ve achieved a high level of success in a certain field, you may have become lulled into believing you’re destined to stick with that type of work forever. Just because a position or industry is second nature doesn’t mean it is an ideal fit for you or an employer. Even with all the uncertainty around us, give yourself permission to try something new. Often when you excel in sales or data analysis, you find yourself promoted to a managerial position where you end up doing less of the work you love. But if you are at a fork in the road consider approaching opportunities with a clear sense of the types of work you enjoy, not just the roles you’ve done in the past.
In the midst of uncertainty in the labor market, Cappfinity provided free access to its industry leading Strengths Profile. The goal was to help job seekers discover and use their strengths to identify and ultimately land new roles. To date over 50,000 people have received their unique assessment.
In closing, the pandemic is a reminder that time is precious. Armed with knowledge of the types of opportunities that align to your strengths and adjusting your job search is critical to landing a rewarding new role. Let 2021 be the year you put your strengths to work.
Nicky Garcea is a Co-founder, Chief Customer Officer, and industrial psychologist. Nicky is passionate about strengths-based recruitment to help talent leaders build diverse, equitable, and inclusive teams. She is also an unapologetic advocate for women in leadership. With her team at Cappfinity, she delivers immersive assessment, development, training, and leadership solutions. She is often tapped to keynote workplace events in the UK, Europe, and US. Nicky currently co-hosts Future Strong, a weekly LinkedIn Live series on the future of work. Nicky splits her time between NYC and the UK with her husband and energetic sons.
Lindsey Pollak is a New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker and your guide to succeeding in today’s ever-changing, multigenerational workplace. Lindsey is currently Cappfinity’s Brand Ambassador for VEE, (Virtual Experience and Engagement Platform) Lindsey’s new book, Recalculating: Navigate Your Career Through the Changing World of Work is out today.