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Mind The Skills, Not The Gap.

Mind the skills, not the gap
Mind The Skills.

 

 

In a previous post, I cited four facts about employment gaps and I read comments from people – most who wanted to know how else to cope with the struggle in the job market. I’ve spent the past few weeks gathering information from employers and recruiters alike to find out what they really thought about employment gaps.

Many jobseekers have constantly whined and fussed about unemployment or the lack of jobs matching the skills they possess and this only widens the employment gap, making these job seekers less qualified for jobs and not even meeting with any job requirement.

Without mincing words; volunteering, networking, internships and low paying jobs are all good options to fill resume gaps but does that mean you should intern anywhere or go for any job even if it doesn’t fit with your career dreams and goals? Certainly not.

As frustrating as waiting for a job might seem, what could be more frustrating would be a life that’s a far cry from your aspirations.

I was once interviewed by a senior executive in a firm for a volunteer role. At the time; I had practically no work experience, after series of questions, he was eager to have me join his team because I clearly explained what my career aspirations were and the things I planned to do to get there. Something worth learning here, people love to help people who have their lives planned out. They find time to help people who make efforts to be different and are potentially valuable to them.

My advice? Have your life planned out, know the kind of job you want and the kinds you won’t give a second thought. Get the right skills that fit your dream job and see how easy it becomes to get a job. While you are making progress to reach your dream job, bear in mind that there’s a clear difference between diversity and confusion. In other words, your years of experience working with different companies or firms don’t necessarily make you the right fit for a desired job. A case in point- an old uncle who spent over 30 years of his life doing different things; first as an employee in an oil firm, then an entrepreneur and then as an employee in a different industry. And when he thought it was time for a managerial role in the firm he had always dreamt to work with, his years of experience didn’t matter, he realised he wasn’t qualified for the job, he didn’t possess most of the skills required to effectively handle the role.

There are transferrable skills that can fit in any job or industry e.g communication and interpersonal skills; these are very good skills to possess but employers also want value too –candidates with  work experience that depicts expertise in a particular field or job role.

Don’t just do any job you find because you are desperate to earn a living, better still while you are doing a job that doesn’t fit with your big picture, pursue your dream on the side. Don’t lose sight of it. Segun Akiode rightly said in one of his posts, you can’t get “any” job.

Obviously, not all your plans fall in place and you’d many times go back to the drawing board to make changes but having a plan is a necessary step to getting a job or anything else.

I’m not asking you to fold your hands and watch your dreams unfold but if you are experiencing a work gap make sure your job search counts by acquiring the skills that match with your desired dream job. Always have the big picture in mind. Know where you want to be.

Recruiters are interested in candidates who have clear cut goals and have something to show for it in their résumé, so even with a work gap, recruiters can still hire such candidates.

My findings

Employers mind employment gaps: don’t make excuses for a work gap in a job interview or in your résumé, figure out ways to take recruiters’ minds off the work gap. If you are asked about a work gap in an interview, admit it but don’t go on wailing about how difficult it is to get a job in this time, employers know that already. It’s also disconcerting to claim possessing skills you don’t have and then get caught in the interview or on the job- I can’t overemphasise honesty. I wouldn’t say telling recruiters you have a work gap will get you a job but it pays off in the end.

Employers really don’t mind work gaps: what they are concerned about is if you possess the skills they look out for.

Forget the gap, go for the right skills.

WRITTEN BY
Nathan Jeffery
Notification Bell