Never underestimate your skill set and experience level. Everybody has a unique array of talents gained and nurtured by their education, career history and personality. The real challenge is how to recognise them, best utilise them, and make an impact in society.
First of all, you need to fully understand your strengths, how they can make a difference and what they contribute. Many candidates rely on big names on their CV, which does not always guarantee a job offer. Without properly understanding what they have gained from each challenge in your life, your application and interview will fall into repetitive cycle and be one in a crowd.
This process also means that you may not be aligning your career with your specific skill set and are just sticking to what you have always done. This is the main reason for that ‘stuck in a rut’ feeling of boredom. Tailoring your career focus to your unique strengths will make you feel that you as an individual are making a real difference. This makes your career progression much more meaningful, interesting and motivating. This doesn’t mean saving the world or finding cures, but putting your transferable skills into positions that only you can do.
There are two ways you can analyse your skill set. One is through matching personality traits. The other is by applying your specific knowledge. Many people experience an overlap which is perfectly normal. Using this system, with our examples, can help clarify and focus your vision of yourself and the next steps.
Strong verbal skills
Government and public engagement opportunities could be a highly inspiring place for a confident orator and those with leadership skills. If you are a natural extrovert then this is the job for you, if you feel energised when surrounded by people with great communication skills, working in a public environment will be highly inspiring. Focusing on non-profit organisations and international relations would be incredibly rewarding. Major charities and philanthropic foundations require good speakers and comfortable ambassadors to the cause. They are filled with passionate people who are ready to inspire others through presentations and campaigns.
If you have always known to prefer looking at shapes rather than numbers and letters, your abilities lie in the visual world. Creative ventures such as design is one exciting and flexible career path. Society is moving away from the stereotype of a ‘starving artist’. We live in visual world with competing social platforms and commerce. Web designers or graphic designers are highly sought by non-profits and media industries. Use your creative juices to pass on motivating and diverse visions to the rest of the world.
If you have a gift for numbers and stats, consider getting involved with research as a career path. Some routes require a graduate degree or even PhD, some of which are funded by universities and companies. Joining the world of environmental and health research can really set you on the road to making long-term impact.
Do not underestimate the power of calm. Patience is indeed a virtue, but also a valuable skill set that may have been overlooked in the past. Patience means keeping cool under pressure and withstanding stressful situations for long periods. It also means being able to put people at ease and playing the long game when it comes to reaping any outcomes. Those in positions of care, such as health professionals or elderly care make the most progress through patience. Likewise, for teachers from primary level to academia career paths.
Personality Skill Set
An academic knowledge base has the potential to reach out to a wide ranging audience outside the university. When you have a masters or PhD in a subject, you become an expert in that specific field. While you may feel that only those in academia are interested, you can be surprised how the rest of society want to engage in your critical thinking. Higher education can be closed to those who cannot afford it, which is why many institutions are funding public engagements and outreach programmes. You can translate your research to mainstream audiences at free conferences and publish at open access journals. In this age, intellectual podcasts and blogs are on the rise, reaching out to those who want to keep learning but are not at university.
Now considered a fundamental skill set for all businesses from start-up to conglomerate. Everyone needs a marketing expert to nurture their brand identity, especially philanthropic projects. Unfortunately, in the age of digital distraction, even non-profits must compete with the rising tide of advertisement and use new technologies to their advantage. Become a consultant to charities which could be smaller and lesser known, and help them promote their goodness. Help them help others!
Have a psychology degree tucked away? Thought it only lead to one type of job? Many companies and institutions seek those trained in psychological sciences as consultants. Either as a researcher or practitioner, you can help with institution pick their own brains. Many companies are examining their behavioural patterns which impact methodologies, problem solving and decision making.