By Brent M. Jones
Sometimes when you look at a job listing, the skills required have industry specific labels on them, or they are grouped under an acronym that is industry specific. Everyone is expected to know what is meant, but if you are considering applying from another related industry it may not be clear enough to you.
The first step is to accurately inventory your own job skills and clearly know what you have. Jobs happen when the employer sees a good match of skills to needs. It may take some work to understand how to label and define your own skills: networking can help you uncover what you don’t know.
It isn’t uncommon for a potential employer to create ambiguities in what they ask for. They may call something a Project Management position but when the skills set is analyzed it can be clear they really want a Project Coordinator.
Sometimes a company will understate the importance of what they want asking for a Project Manager but really needing a Manager over the areas they are staffing.
Perhaps the job seeker in his current job has been performing as a Project Manager in every way but has been paid at the Project Coordinator level with that title in the current job. In this case making a change especially needs to be based on selling job skills rather than titles. A complete and accurate understanding of the job skills ask for in the job listing is very important in this case.
It is very important to be able to get feedback from more than the HR department on potential jobs. Learning in advance about how skills are described will be critical if your changing industries and you don’t want to walk into an interview not having learned that. Understanding why Goals and Initiatives are chosen, and sometimes even listed on the company web site, will help you see where your skills really fit, enable you to show your strengths and communicate more effectively.
Goals, initiatives, and mission statements seem to always make the organization Web Site. In cases where a set of specific job skills is closely tied to those areas it means someone in the organization has some passion for them and if you can identify them they likely will be willing to talk.
One web site recently observed showed several company initiatives tied to an overall company goal and even listed committees assigned to the initiatives. In this example the initiative of “patient care” was listed and it caught the attention of a project manager from the aerospace industry. A call was made to the initiative committee chairman to discuss what project management of patient care consisted of? It was found that many items were the same, with slightly different labels and some of the processes were the same, with only a different acronym used to describe it.
This networking initial call enabled a meaningful interview to follow with some background interest in what was happening from the committee chairman who had been met with. It is always an advantage to have talked to others in the company but this approach was a natural opportunity
Networking helps understand the organization you have an interest in, but it can serve to help you see your own job skills more completely too. The best jobs are found using networking.