It can be tough to find a new position in the workplace. Many factors come into play when you put yourself, or circumstances put you, into the job market. When you have submitted application after application with no response, or you have had interview after interview without an offer it is very frustrating. When coaching people in this situation one of the things we look at is what they are bringing to the table for the jobs they are trying to get. One thing that has been helpful to them and may be helpful to you is to think of buying a car.
The Car: The Analogy
As you are walking the car lot in search of your next car. The salesperson walking with you chatters away as they tend to do. You know what your budget is and no amount of sales talk can change that. As you stroll up and down the aisles of cars, and there are hundreds of them on the lot, one model catches your eye. You give it the once over, kick the tires, look under the hood, look in the passenger cabin and the trunk. You look as the price sticker and it seems affordable. You need transportation and this would do nicely. Just as you turn to talk price, you catch a glimpse of another model. You walk over to it and give it the once over but the salesmen starts to point out all the extras that come included with this particular model. Good, reliable transportation but with all the extras you might look for in a car…and at the same price.
You have a budget of $ 30,000 to spend and you intend to spend all of it. Now, you could buy a nice serviceable nondescript vehicle. Four tires, four doors, good motor, nice, basic, serviceable transportation that will get you from point A to point B. Nothing special, nothing flashy but serviceable. By all outward indications it will perform as expected with very little trouble.
However, for the same $30,000 you can purchase the same good, basic transportation that will fill all your basic transportation needs…but it also has all the “extras” you wanted. There are the heated leather seats with memory adjustment, power everything, state of the art sound system, Bluetooth enabled, wifi hotspot, dvd player with front and rear screens, climate control, moon roof and all the other goodies that make things fun to drive. So now you have good solid, reliable transportation with all the “goodies” that will make your drive more enjoyable.
Which will you buy? Well, if you are like most of us there is no question which one you will take. You’ll take the upgrade for the same money.
This is the choice hiring managers make every day. When faced with a choice of two candidates, both reliable, both can do the job, but one has a little more to offer in the way of skill, knowledge, or abilities they will take the “upgraded model.” Your skills and qualifications can make you either nice “basic transportation” or the “up graded model”.
Understanding which “model” you are will help you to realistically understand your prospects at getting the job you are going after. If you only meet the minimum qualifications of the job because you have not updated your skills you may be overlooked. If you do not have a good understanding of what skills you do posses so that you can speak convincingly (sell them) as to how they relate to the qualifications being looked for in the job, you are like the “basic model”. You are good, dependable, reliable transportation, but you have none of the qualities that would make someone take notice and choose you over that individual with the “extras” the degree, the upgraded skills, the certifications, the great positive attitude. You may make a fine employee, better perhaps than any other candidate but how will you or anyone else know if you do not have the right attributes to catch the eye of the hiring manager.
Rather than discourage you, I would hope that this would inform you and encourage you. The hiring manager wants to get the most and best for their money. Your job it to assess your skills, knowledge, and abilities and make sure they align with what the job wants and your competition may have.