Building Skills and Using them. 

Although I still have not received a call back from any of the places I’ve applied to, I still haven’t lost hope. Also, just because I’m still unemployed that doesn’t mean I’m jobless. Confused?

What I mean by that is that I haven’t started my career but there are other things that I am doing. Sometimes a few of us forget that we have a few diplomas and degrees on the wall and that we can put any of them to use. Sometimes we solely focus on one and forget that we have so much to offer.

Lately, I’ve been putting skills that I learned from elementary, high school, college and university to use in order to continue developing my career path. I want to be able to say that I kept learning and using these skills that I had put on a shelf. We all have so much to offer, if you say you lack skills, I say you don’t. Someone once told me that she did so many different things because she loved it all and wanted to try them before finally finding the job she wanted to stick with. She put to use all her skills and now uses everything she learned in that one job. It didn’t mean she was indecisive she was expanding her knowledge, her skill set and her life.

We all have different skills that we have picked up since we were kids. Some of us know how to bake quite well, cook, sew, knit, edit, write, sing, dance, etc, etc. So why not put them to use? You might think it’s silly but if you feel like you’re having no luck with finding a job with that degree you just earned then perhaps it’s time you use other skills you have.

Do your friends tell you that you take good photos? Why not start taking photos at a charge and make some money. You know how to knit extremely well? Why not sell some pieces next time at your local craft fair. You grow nice vegetables? Make jams, bake cookies? Theres a farmers market almost every weekend. Yes, some skills you have wont always lead to you getting money but they’ll get you another kind of value.

The value of learning, expanding, growing, getting your name out there. It’ll allow you to bring more than one thing to the table at an interview; it’ll show that you have all these skills that you actually put to use. Or you might end up starting a business all on your own. I’ve read stories of people who worked as lawyers and stopped in order to pursue music. Journalists who decided to start a restaurant. You get the idea.

If you do feel like you lack skills then why not start learning. There are so many ways to do this.

  • You can volunteer. I think volunteering is one of the biggest door openers because if you stay at a place for quite some time, they’ll know you, trust you and know what you’re capable of and perhaps when a paid opportunity comes along, you’ll be considered or hired.
  • Take a course. You don’t have to take a full load of courses. Just pick one. For example, there are a lot of open learning courses online. I decided that I want to learn more about Forensic psychology and although I won’t get any credit for it. I can still add it to my list of things I studied on my own time.
  • Teach yourself something new. This ties in with the point above and below. It doesn’t always have to be academic. You can learn to draw, take photos, cook, music, teach yourself a new language.
  •  Go back to school and upgrade. For adults, there are tons of upgrading courses (even though there have been budget cuts in our part of the world…which is dumb and awful). Upgrade whatever you think will benefit you.
  • Get Certified. I know a lot of things cost money and it sucks. I think of it as investing in myself. I ask myself “If I do this, will I benefit from it” and usually the answer is yes. So go get certified in First Aid, Lifeguard, FoodSafe and what ever else is out there.

Sometimes I think that my skills are not transferable to the job that I want or that I won’t get hired because there is no proof that I actually know how to do a certain task. For example, I applied to a program that needs proof of two year experience in computer use, basic MS software knowledge and that I know how to type. I found it ridiculous that even though I’ve been a student basically my whole life, they need a letter saying I have this skill set. I had reference letters and they still weren’t happy with it, so now they want me to pay for a test to prove that I can type. It was upsetting but I want to get into this program so I have to obviously find a way to prove that I can. Sometimes there will be bumps in the road like this but when you want something you have to do what it takes.

In an older post, I mentioned that there is a difference between having a degree and being educated. Some people just go to school to get a degree while others go to get an education. These are two different things. I say take advantage of all the things you’ve learned, put them to use, build your skill set and open more doors for yourself that you didn’t think you could. You’ll also learn what you love, what you don’t, what you’re not good at and what you excel in. Life is a big experiment.

Some people know what they’re going to do right from the start, others get their dream job right from the start, while others have to use all their artillery in different battles until they get to the one.

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