On Day 24 of the #60Day Challenge, we went through the list of skills required to do well in our career choice to pick out those that got a “yes” (meaning you have already acquired that skill). In anticipation of getting asked about that skill by a recruiter, we then set out to articulate how we acquired that skill – as well as why it was important to us and the employer. Today, we turn our attention to the “maybe” and “no” items on that list… and begin the process of adding valuable skills to our career repertoire.
Day 24 of the #60Day Challenge was a tough one. Rarely are we asked about ourselves – especially our skill sets; which is a conversation almost exclusively limited to job interviews. Even tougher, as we found yesterday: developing an insightful, confident answer that demonstrates we truly have mastered a certain skill.
On Day 25 of the Challenge, we move on to the next stage of our “Skills Required Assessment” process: those skills that employers will expect from you… and you cant’ yet say with confidence that you’ve developed. Today, we begin to tackle the “maybe” and “no” answers from your list…
To get started, take out your skills required list. Line by line, ask yourself three questions about that skill:
Will the lack of this skill stop me from being employable at the end of the #60Day Challenge?
These skills, regardless of the answers to the next two questions, must be your top priority. No matter how you choose to learn them – a short-term internship, Coursera, Khan Academy, MOOCs, etc. – get it done. Google every resource. Explore every option. Do not let the lack of this skill be a barrier to successfully entering the workforce or getting your next job.
Can I relatively quickly move this skill (most likely those marked as a “maybe” now) into the “yes” category?
With some items on your list, you already have some knowledge of the skill. And perhaps some hands-on experience, practical application – or even a refresher course – may be enough to slide that task to a “yes”. Tackle those skills next. In addition to MOOCs and other online learning, consider job shadowing and short-term volunteer projects. In addition, calling on the mentors, influencers and experts in your network who may be able to facilitate rapid learning is an option.
Will learning this skill require more time, planning and commitment than I have available right now?
Every skill that didn’t fit into question 1 or 2 in today’s task most likely gets put into this bucket. And the reality is, you may not be able to master that skill before the #60Day Challenge is over. For those tasks, plan on doing three things:
- Prioritize each according to value to your overall career plans
- Build a long-term plan, complete with dates, on how and when you’ll learn that skill
- While demonstrating a high degree of self-awareness, be able to provide details of that long-term plan to a potential employer
The last item is very important… because by doing so, the recruiter will not only see that you are aware of what might be considered a weakness, but you have a plan to overcome that weakness. Your one paragraph statement, which will put you way ahead of your competition for this position, might go something like this (again, using Amy the would-be Community Manager as an example):
“When I saw extensive knowledge of Radian6 was strongly preferred, I knew we’d have this conversation. I’ve learned as much as I can online and through a job-shadow about the platform. I have also scheduled an instructor-led training course with Salesforce ExactTarget Academy that begins May 15th, where I’m confident I’ll gain the knowledge necessary to be an immediate contributor.”
There is a very strong chance that this step is going to take more than 60 minutes of your time today. Much more, in fact. To give you all the time you need, and because today is Easter Sunday, we’re all going to take an extra day to work on this. By Tuesday, when Day 26 of the #60Day Challenge is posted, you’ll have a plan to move many of the “maybe” and “no” skills on your list to an emphatic “Yes!”
Enjoy Easter Sunday. Be productive on Monday. We’ll see you back at the challenge on Tuesday, April 22nd.