Career Lessons in Employment Gaps

 

If this this not the first post you have seen from me, then you probably know that global work opportunities; general professional career development, and education are my spiel.

Now………As ambitious and exciting this approach to career development is , the reality is that you may have employment gaps for various reasons before you truly achieve a professional skills that can make you get hired globally.

An employment gap is a space in between jobs, that will be evident in your CV. Gaps seem to freak people out . An example is, when i was insuring my car this year, i received emails and letters about some enquiries the company had to make before proceeding. Finally they phoned me and the enquiry was why did i not have a car the past 2 years!. I wanted to give a sassy answer but realised that people/business will analyse what is outside their expected norm in business flow process ,so it makes sense to them.

It’s the same with career gaps. I have since learned that questions like ,why has no one hired you? or why are you not driven to make the next progression point ? , are red flags to some employers.

While i experienced something that forced me to prioritise me, especially in answering the question ‘why are you doing what you are doing?, i had not anticipated abrupt career changes that followed.

While i really wanted to progress in my profession, i initially thought the way to go is the traditional route of adding more responsibilities and opportunities that give you enough skills to apply for the next position up. This works of course and has worked for me before, but it’s not the be all and end all. Furthermore, it depends on the culture and support.Without delving deep on the latter, you will soon know whether it’s something to pursue , pack-up or shut up.

One thing that worked in my favour is that i have never been interested in one thing. My interests and curiosity spans between various fields. so while one aspects of career seemed to stall, i picked up my camera and my laptop and started working on a project i had started a while ago but never had time to either think it through or see it through. My commitment had been sporadic.

What I learned Through this project

Project Skills

The first step was taking ownership of the operations of the project. Well, failing would be me. I couldn’t blame it on anyone. so task one was mapping out systems of  registration, file keeping , how i would order, keep track or communication with suppliers and customers. I needed the systems to work because going through personal changes meant there were days i was just …….stressed! so things had to keep going.

So i taught myself how to set up and use a CRM (customer Relations Database). I used one from hubspot. That way, i could create a customer profile, store their communication, invoices, etc in one place. And not allow my scatter brain at the time, fail to track things.

Recruitment management

Then there was a need to manage logistics in delivering to local customers , research potential markets and increase engagement. So, i had to interview candidates to find help. The whole recruitment process from drawing up job description and creating methods of vetting candidates was a new skill to me.

From Recruiting To learning How to be Recruited

One thing i learned that i use now when going for interviews is, failing an interview is not necessarily because you have failed as a person although it can sometimes feel like it. The interviewer is looking at their wish list (job description) and what in their opinion would take for them to fulfil it. Unless that interviewer is not really connecting with the bigger picture of the business , they will truly hire  the best candidate based on their interpretation of the above. I had my preference of who i wanted to hire based on my experiences and i soon realised that if i really want to achieve my goal without micro managing (micro managing to me is like doing the same task twice), i needed to hire the one who is willing to grow and sees my vision. Thats it. so now, thats what i aim for when i interview- am i going to make the department or the manager’s job easier? if the answer is yes, then i develop answers to interview questions by answering this question in layers.

Being Dynamic

Another thing , was learning to fail fast and get up fast- There is no time to wallow in what hasn’t worked and who thinks you/your business model is trash. It hurts, but you take the constructive criticism and leave the rest on the floor. This follows that, you are willing to try new things economically.

So, what technical things did i try?

Learning to up update my website and incorporate various new functionalities to improve user experience.

The way i can explain it is , i know what end product i want to see when it comes to functionality and design. I then work backwards.

Taking Calculated Risks

Following on from that, i now developed a bit of confidence applying for jobs that i don’t match 100% of the skills/experience. why is easier for me to confidently say, i can still learn and execute in record time.

Pricing Myself and/or Pricing products and services.

Not much to explain here, other than, i am still in process of charging properly. But, it has helped me negotiate salaries. I can layer my thought process in getting there.

Managing people.

I had to create a balance between firing fast when things aren’t working and the reluctance because  i like the person and want to give them a chance. I have also realised why most start ups hire people who have receipts (established results) in their craft. It’s because they bring stability to a constantly changing business and frankly a trial and error project. The experienced hire becomes the constant.

Oh i have so many, but for now let me know the skills that you don’t have that are preventing you from finding the next job or global career?

Career Lessons in Employment Gaps

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