Survival Job To Thriving Career

The job market is tight and it is tough enough to get an interview, let alone to get past the interview process.  All the other applicants have similar education and qualifications and you just don’t stand out.  Employers are asking for experience that you can’t get when you aren’t working, and although you have some education and/or related experience, it doesn’t seem to be enough to capture their interest.

Money is running low, time is running out, and it’s time to get a survival job: a job to pay the bills while you keep looking for a job that is in your career field.  That’s all a Survival Job is for, isn’t it?

Actually, with a little research and planning, even a survival job can boost your resume, enhance necessary skills, and make you more employable in your field!  Investigate your field and find out which skills are in high demand.  This can be done through researching the National Occupation Classification, doing informational interviews and even by requesting feedback from interviewers who did not hire you.  While you learn theories and gain basic skills in school, first hand knowledge and application based skills are going to make you stand out from other applicants.

Would “A thorough understanding of factors that affect consumer buying decisions at the point of sale in the …industry” or “Comprehensive knowledge of seasonal buying patterns of … industry customers in the local region” make you a better purchaser, product designer, business executive or advertiser?  How about “A proven ability to capture customer attention through creative product displays, coupled with the strategic use of colour and lighting”?  If these are skills that you have found employers are looking for in your field, you might want to consider looking at retail positions that are directly related to your industry.

Someone who “Views all feedback, including rejection, as an opportunity to learn, and actively develop new techniques and approaches that result in increased positive outcomes from employee/client and employee/employee interactions” would certainly be useful on a Sales, Human Resources, Management, or Promotional team, and would perform well in most positions.  If you want to develop this skill, a job doing door-to-door, telephone, or other direct sales might just be for you.

Employers in most fields are looking for someone who is “Skilled at calmly and effectively handling rapidly changing priorities in high pressure situations while maintaining clear, professional communication with both colleagues and clients” or has “Successfully demonstrated ability to obtain and retain product information in order to assist customers with needs determination and product selection”?  Both of these skills can be highly developed as a waiter/waitress and in other customer service industries.

These are just a few examples of how a Survival Job might enhance your employability in your desired field.  Of course, simply doing the job won’t give you the required skills.  You have to be focused at developing your skills; by learning from, or even outperforming others who have chosen that job as a career.  In addition to developing and demonstrating certain skills, performing well can result in advancement opportunities within a company or organization, and provide you with an excellent reference for future job searches.

In other words, you could go from surviving to thriving, with a little research, smart planning and the passion to excel at all aspects of your career.  Remember, today is the day we use to create our tomorrow.  Where do you want to be tomorrow, and what can you do today to get there?

This article was written by Michael Thompson, a Career Development Practitioner at Pacific Community Resources Society.

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