I don't have skills…

I don't have skills…

I don't have skills…

I’m not an expert. I’m just a guy who likes to think about stuff.

Last week, I was scared. This week, I don’t have skills. That’s right. I don’t have the skills employers want. I’ve been doing the same job for years. Now what?

Have you looked at a job ad lately? Most of them have 15-20 “requirements” for the position. You meet maybe half of them (if you’re lucky). The other half? Not even close! When I was unhappy at a particular job, I’d start looking for another one. I’d get discouraged after reading jobs ads of interest. How could I compete with all the other applicants? Some of these certifications the employer is asking for I’ve never even heard of!

You want to know a little secret? The employer may not know what those acronyms mean, either! Oftentimes, employers flood their job descriptions with everything and the kitchen sink, hoping to find the one and only person who meets all the requirements. Yep, most job ads are simply inflated wish lists. Employers stuff their job ads with requirements to ensure that few people actually apply. Less applicants, less interviews, less work. Did I mention that once they find this “perfect” person who is the “right fit”, they want to pay him or her as little as possible?

You’re more qualified than you think. If you recognize the job title of the ad you’re looking at, and you’ve done the type of work someone with that job title typically does, you’re qualified. Believe me. Companies think they’re so unique. In many ways, they’re not. I worked for years as a product development engineer in medical devices. Could I work in product development in biotechnology? Consumer goods? Anything that involves developing a product? Of course. But companies put up artificial and subjective barriers to keep applicant numbers down. If you’re intent on being an employee at a company, and you meet a quarter of the job requirements, you can do the job. Don’t be hesitant to apply.

However…if you work for yourself, you don’t have to worry yourself with job ads at all. You can go directly to companies with the skills you have and ask about the issues they face. You can find out whether your skills address those issues. Once you make the shift from interviewee to consultant, the dynamic you have with companies changes dramatically. Now you’re seen as a problem solver, not another person looking for a job with benefits. As an independent worker, no companies will ask you about some obscure certification on a job ad. They just want to know whether you can help them. It’s freeing to interact with companies this way. You’re not going to them with your hat in your hand. You’re going to them empowered, because you’re a problem solver! And as long as you can solve their problem, you obviously have the skills. Whether they’re willing to pay you, that’s another story…

Next week, another excuse to strike down. Stay tuned!

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