How to uncover hidden jobs: try rearranging your skills
THE job market may be tight these days. But there are jobs going unfilled and job seekers going unemployed because the applicants, innocently enough, actually ''hide'' jobs from themselves.Skip to next paragraph
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If you keep hearing, ''Sorry, we don't have an opening for your type of work, '' then it's time to create new kinds of work for yourself. How? By rearranging your skills and giving the new structures other titles. It's all legitimate, all valid.
You did the same thing as a child. You took a pile of building blocks, and, depending on your game, sometimes you built a bridge. Sometimes you erected a tower. Sometimes you tore the tower down, discarded some blocks, added others, and built a castle or a corral or a cabin. The same process creates new job opportunities for you.
To begin, you need lots of building materials. Placement officers and employment specialists call these ''marketable skills.'' You probably have been asked several times to ''make an inventory of your skills.'' It's a good idea, but how do you go about it? And what, really, is a skill?
A skill can be an ability developed by formal training. A skill can be an activity for which you have been paid. It can be a specific technical competence. Or it can evolve from the tasks of a craft. But that's not all.
Your skills include all the means and methods by which you accomplish day-to-day living - the way you deal with people, how you use information, and what you do with things. You started accumulating skills in childhood. You continue adding to your skills as an adult.
A thorough inventory of all these useful abilities gives you a wealth of materials from which to construct and perform other jobs.
Consider the case of Carol, who is employed as a general office clerk (her employer calls her ''the bookkeeper'') for a small automotive repair shop. The boss is retiring and the business will close. She is looking for another job.
In her present position, Carol makes out invoices, receipts, estimates, policies, statements, and payroll checks. She receives and pays out the money and makes bank deposits. She keeps stock inventory records and does the reordering. She computes wages and taxes and makes out the checks. She gives information to customers and adjusts complaints.
Carol also operates the office machines - the typewriter, adding machine, and a copy machine. She opens the mail and prepares the correspondence for her employer's signature. She purchases office supplies, answers the telephone, and runs errands.
All these skills Carol has listed on her personal skills inventory, but there is much more she has not considered. After some prodding, she adds these: She has been active as a Four-H club leader and a Girl Scout leader. She often does volunteer work in community services. She writes promotion for her club and church, plans programs and meetings.
In school she was deeply involved in the school newspaper, both as reporter and later as editor. She has considerable ability with crafts such as needlepoint, sewing, stained glass, and pottery. She has taught these skills to the children in her Scout and Four-H groups and at the summer camps where she was a camp counselor.
Carol has wide reading interests and is particularly fascinated by behavioral science. She enjoys people and studies behavior in individuals and groups. In her contacts with others Carol has exhibited a special skill in helping them solve their problems. Although she modestly disclaims this, Carol is also tactful and persuasive.