The Career Skills Triangle - Essential Marketing for Career Transition!

  • Planning a Career Transition, but don't know where to start?
  • Heard about Personal Branding, but unsure how it applies to you?
  • Wondering how to sell your skills, in an overcrowded market?
As someone who works with both employers and job-seekers, let me share some career-transition marketing tips. As a job seeker, the first thing you need to understand is that the job search is not just about you.

Finding a match between employer and employee is like finding a mate. Continuing with this wedding analogy, a wedding is not just about the bride and groom - rather it is about uniting two families. In this fashion, getting hired is about uniting the right candidate with the right company.
Since the company is paying the salary the hiring process is skewed in their favor, especially in a 'down economy.' Job search is intimately related to a given industries' contraction or expansionary trends. Consider what skills are required by a specific company in specific industry and the job vacancies they need to fill. Employers and recruiters must build a business case, each time they request funding to fill a vacancy. In these tight, financial times, each hire will reflect directly on the Human Resource Manager who made the decision. Bottom line - any potential 'hire' must meet a company's business needs.
In applying for jobs and/or while planning a career transition you will need to market yourself to employers. Candidates need to connect the dots and explain concretely how all of their skills relate to a specific job posting. It is not the employers' job to analyze your background and then slot you in a position.

The Career Skills Triangle can help you understand all of the angles and skills which employers require. Consider what a candidate would be like if their skills only filled one side of the triangle or 2 sides of the triangle. Think about the different combinations of skills or lack of skills and how this would impact the hiring and recruitment process. Frequently, the candidate hired is the one who has the highest overall combination of skills from all three sides of the Career Skills Triangle. I would encourage you to look closely at all three skill areas. Do not make the mistake of focusing exclusively on your technical skills. Market all of your skills on your professional paper-tools/resumes and in the interview process. Know your strengths and work on improving your weakness'.

For those of you who are visual learners like me, conceptualize each of the categories below as the side of a triangle. All three skill sets are required to make a complete triangle or well rounded candidate.

Career Transition Skills Triangle

Technical skills. These include your computer skills, your job-specific skills and your industry-specific skills. I.E. if you are in FMCG, Fast Moving Consumer Goods you may have specialty knowledge about your particular subsector and product line. These skills are often particular to a specific, job-role or position. Remember, an employer can easily send a new hire to a course to upgrade their technical skills.

Transferable skills. These include all of the skills gained through your previous work experience, life experience and education. These are not job specific skills, but rather innate skills which you carry or transfer from job to job. For instance, on your last job you may have had to create detailed Excel spreadsheets for an Insurance company. This ability to analyze and problem solve at a granular level is an example of a transferable skills. You could apply these general, skills to a variety of work tasks and work situations. 

Interpersonal skills. These skills refer to your ability to connect, relate, listen and communicate with others. These days the term Emotional IQ or Intelligence is very trendy. For instance, you may have had to use your interpersonal skills when selling products to customers in your role as an Alternative Energy Consultant. You had to develop a relationship with your client and build on that trust. This ability to build relationships, listen and communicate clearly are your key interpersonal skills. They may also be examples of your transferable skills. Also, keep in mind that each company will have their own company culture. Often candidates are not hired since the are perceived to be a 'poor, potential fit' with the current employees or work team.

In order to maintain a competitive advantage as a job seeker, you must consider your target market. The recruiters’ and employers’ needs should be the focus of your self-marketing strategy. A savvy career changer will work hard to research their target market and learn to customize their approach. In this highly charged, highly competitive job market you must take into account the goals, needs and desires of the employers. I would highly recommend that all potential job seekers and career changers take stock of all 3 aspects of their career transition profile. Develop lists of skills for each of the 3 categories . Create detailed, examples of how you gained these skills and how you used these skills in real world applications.

Stay tuned for upcoming postsabout the “Top 10 Skills which Employers Require” and a “True Story of Emotional Intelligence under Pressure.”

Related Posts:

Career Direction: Cast Adrift In A Challenging Economy
Career Transition Action Plan
Execute Your Job Search Strategy Using Gantt Charts
How The Hidden Job Market Found Me Pull Method Of Marketing

Author: © 2010 - All Rights Reserved - Sharon B. Cohen, MA, Counseling Psychology,CPRP. Licensed Counselor. Career Counselor and Career Transition Specialist.

"Virtual Career Counseling: helping business professionals, reach their career potential!"

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  9. Thank you for all of the insightful and encouraging comments! I love to hear what my global readers' think of my career articles.

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  10. Very helpful Post!!! This is the first time I have read a post like this. Find Career tips here– Visit Here

  11. Career is very essential for our personal as well as professional growth; therefore we need to develop our career while following different instructions from different sources. So before planning a career we should go through the possibilities of development opportunities. I would like to pick the important points present in this above article regarding career growth and hope to get suitable benefits for career development.
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  12. Your job profile is really challenging and need to achieve every little thing. Really appreciable tips you’ve given to not only to the job seeker but also to the employer. But what I believe is, for a job seeker, it is very much important to showcase their skills and not show their weakness in any sense. And he/she must be focus on that thing. This is really important because the employee is the person who is going to be paid by selling his skills. From the three career skills you’ve mentioned, the most vital is the Interpersonal skills; because it’ll help you to acquire the other two if you don’t have!
    Career Coach