When you are early in your career or would like to move into a new field, your past work experience might not help you explain to a new employer why you are a great fit for their opening.
So how do you understand what’s important to employers and how it aligns with your own skills and strengths?
1. Read Job Postings. Even if it has a different job title, you might have performed similar duties in past jobs. Describe your experience in their terms, using their same words in your explanation or on your resume.
2. Volunteer Work. If you are looking to move into a different field, you might be able to demonstrate your capabilities through volunteering at a local nonprofit. Not only can this give you relevant experience, but you might also meet new people who can refer you into a paid position doing this work.
3. Hobbies. While hobbies don’t pay money, they can help you understand your interests and strengths. Why do you enjoy your weekend and evening activities? What are you good at doing and why?
4. Accomplishments. Rather than focus on your duties for past jobs and activities, think about what you achieved. Did you take the initiative to make an improvement? Did you receive recognition? Were you leading the charge to accomplish a goal?
5. Talk to a Close Friend or Family Member. All of this can be too much to do alone, but don’t give up: ask a trusted individual where you are most successful and what you are good at doing. Several years back, I was struggling for hours to figure out my own strengths and skills. I spent 30 minutes with a former coworker and she identified all sorts of things I had missed about myself. The best part? I was more confident after our conversation, which was also helpful in my job search.