As I continue in the job search, I find that my career interests fall into two categories. A few jobs that interest me are pretty natural fits for my resume. Others aren't. There are areas in which I am certain I could excel and for which I have great skills but for which my resume is not a "natural" fit. They are roles where I know my skills would be a great benefit but ones where I really need the chance to TALK about my skills before my resume is tossed aside. I'm a non-traditional applicant for these roles, not at all an on-paper match. I try to address this in my cover letters, owning the fact that I am not the candidate they imagined but then outlining how my skills and experience would be a terrific match. I think I could do it better in person since it really requires a conversation about my strengths and the job's requirements.
In that spirit, and to help me continue to build both my written and oral "selling points," I present the following thoughts on my skills...I think I've done something similar before, but it's my blog so I get to do what I want :)
- Analytical & Reasoning Skills: As a girl, I loved books of logic puzzles. I kicked major ass on the LSAT (which involves a lot of logic questions). I did well in math, especially geometry...I totally LOVED proofs. I could rarely memorize rules but I could reconstruct them when I understood them. I do best on the Jeopardy clues that involve a "trick"..Jason totally beats me if it is a date or name or other memory-focused stuff but I win if it is something you can figure out or there's a hidden hint.
- Writing: I think I write well and that I can adapt to my audiences. My parents say this blog is well-written...they are biased but I'll take it. These posts are pretty quick affairs, many under 15 minutes, and aren't the best example of my ability. I do find writing flows for me and I think I write pretty quickly. Since being home, I've also helped wordsmith some of my husband's work...it can be a slow process (partly b/c I never studied his field) but I think I do it well.
- Observation & Listening: In a big group, I'm often quiet. I am fine with this and I'm in on the secret shared by many other quiet folks...we see and hear and observe it all, both the spoken and the unsaid. A moment of job pride as a recruiter came when I rephrased what a candidate seemed to be looking for and she said I really helped her crystallize her goals, both the spoken targets and the underlying motivations, including some she hadn't fully put into formal words. I also warned my husband about the boyfriend of someone he knew...I wish I'd been wrong but I wasn't at all shocked when he hurt her. On the job front again, I also often served as an ear for angry candidates to vent (better they get their anger out with me than in a job interview).
- Wit: I'm not a stand-up comic, but I think I'm quick and make amusing observations. I think this trait showed up fairly early.
- Compassion/Respect: I can't watch the Sarah McLaughlin ASPCA ads...or even the Pedigree shelter dogs series. Animals probably are a more immediate heart-tugger for me, but people get me too. I believe in "ordinary" heroes and I feel physical pain when I think about people denied healthcare or human rights. I believe in respect and that true respect includes a helping hand, especially for children or people who are truly putting forth all they have. When I worked with gifted teens, I always told them they started with my respect...they didn't need to earn it but they could lose it. When I looked at firms as a law student, I watched how people spoke to secretaries...how you treat the folks "below" you says more than how you treat someone with power. On my last day as a lawyer, I went to lunch with two secretaries (another got booked up and couldn't come). I hope that was a testament to having treated them well (though that was also in my best interest, they could make you or break you!).
- Hard-working/Commitment: I simply can't not work hard. My last job got frustrating in the tough economy when hard-work didn't always lead to results but I simply couldn't throw in the towel. I know I kept up a very high activity volume when compared to peers. I still reached out to employers and potential candidates, making contacts and efforts even when the likelihood of getting a new job order in was low. I might check my Gmail or read CNN for a bit, but I just couldn't flitter away a whole day...even when part of me wanted to do so.
Clearly, I'm a catch. Wanna hire me? I promise to actually proofread anything I write for you.