By Julia Ivy
Just a month ago, I started the article for graduates with a reference to a historically low unemployment rate. At that time, it was easy to find a job, while some jobs could be boring and one-dimensional. Example: an accountant, technician, writer, or even sale person – who was supposed to stay within boundaries of a narrow scope of actions for a narrow scope of projects. It would be a fine job for a first job right after the college, or the last job right prior to retirement. However, for Millennials who are known to be multidimensional and for career changers who traded a safe job for personal fulfillment, these one-dimensional jobs would be unnatural.
For those, who wanted more than just a job, I suggested the option of pursuing a personal strategy of BE for “crafting your edge for today’s job market.” The “BE” stands for Boutique employability – the type of employability that would let these people craft their own edge and shape the space in the market that would fit their — unique and multidimensional – combination of skills, passions, and experiences. It would let them connecting with a dream employer and showing their multidimensional value for the company of their choice.
The rules of employment and employability changed.
Almost overnight, we shifted from a healthy economy with a growing stock market and low unemployment rate — to the opposite side of the spectrum. Based on the New York Times, the Labor Department report of April 2 showed about five million people filed for jobless benefits, part of the growing economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. It happened on top of our concern about our own safety and of the wellbeing of the people that we care about.
In the market, where there are more people who are looking for a job than jobs looking for people, job candidates will fall into two categories – to be “one of many” or “one of one” from a perspective of the employer that goes through the list of applicants.
The goal of this article is to elaborate on how to become a “one of one” and perceive a personal strategy of “BE” – boutique employability. There are three conditions for being qualified for pursuing the “BE” personal strategy.
If you accept all of them with all your heart, then follow three steps: PASSION-OPTIONS-ACTION. The only possible obstacle for becoming the “BE” qualified could be in your own mindset of “What is special about me? No, I cannot do it.” Otherwise, the “BE” personal strategy is open for everybody. Let us work on a message that you can post on your social media page, or sharing in interviews or networking events.
Start with defining a scope of companies that YOU care about, and explain why you care about them. Choose one for this exercise to practice the technique, then you can do it again and again for other companies.
Define one of the challenges that you think these companies are facing now. Finally, look at the list of your multidimensional qualities and expertise (above) and choose two-three of your qualifications that could help the company that you care about deal with the challenge you assume it has. These three credentials elucidate your multidimensional core as most relevant for the company of your choice.
Then, bring these together and draft a passionate message that connects the company, your care about the company, the challenge you are interested to solve, and your core. This is a fill-in template for the first part of your post:
I am _____________ a graduate from________, I am passionate about ___________ (the company) because of _____________ (why you care) . I believe my background in _________ and ________(your core) could let me contribute to search for solutions for _____________ (the challenge).
Employ your multidimensional qualifications to assume a couple of options, each of which could potentially be a solution for the challenge. Do not hesitate to go beyond the “normal practice”; inform these options with your unique blend of experiences. Example: if you are from a post-Soviet area, you had an experience of dealing with a broken supply chain. If you are good at video gaming, you know how to make virtual interactions engaging. If your previous job was a high school, you know how to keep customers involved. If you have an education in finance, you know how to reconfigure a cost structure and manage expenses. Each experience would inform options you consider possible solutions.
Bring your thoughts together in a message that raises interest. Avoid recommending anything to the company as ready solutions, but rather open your thought process and share how passionate you are to help.
I think, the options of __________________ and _________________ ___________ are worth to consider as potential pathways towards (think about the desirable outcome). Each of these options certainly need further investigation on whether and how they can work for ________________ (the company).
Finish your post with sharing your urge for action in order to solve the challenge for the company you care about. Tag the company you have mentioned to your post. Companies need “out of the box” ideas, relevant to THEIR challenges, and they need people who care and capable.
If you can post the message on your social media platform, you can ask others to join you in your passion and volunteering effort. If you communicate the message in interviews or networking opportunities, share how far you feel motivated with this challenge, and would love to volunteer on working on it as long as you know that it would make a difference.
This is the fundamentals of your “BE” personal strategy of boutique employability. It let YOU define a scope of companies and challenges of your interest, and differentiate yourself from others. Keep doing it, but every time, be sincere in your choice of the company you care about and your drive to solve the puzzle. Remember, you do NOT offer yourself as an employee or asking for payment yet. You care about the company. You love solving challenges. You have special expertise to solve this one. You want to make a difference.
Only when you receive interest from a company, keep crafting your edge. You have already mastered the first and most difficult step of Elucidating your Multidimensional CORE and linking it with YOUR CASE. The next step is to Develop Trust.
The money will follow.