The Desk

May 18, 2014

Career Tip: Overcoming Recent Knowledge Objections

For whatever reason, you’ve been out of the formal employment situation for quite a while. You’ve also been out of school for more than two or three years. (Try approaching a decade or so.) All of those stellar accomplishments that happened while you were in the work world are becoming stale. One recruiter was tactless enough to tell you your skills aren’t sufficiently up to date to qualify for a temp assignment.

Have you been sitting in a dark room and doing absolutely nothing all this time or have you been active in all manner of activities that are being dismissed, even taken for granted? The only reason I would accept that excuse is if you were in a coma and on life support for an extended period of time. And even if that were true, your doctor probably prescribed occupational rehabilitative support so that you can get back into current practices. So you weren’t in a coma but maybe you were undergoing some type of traumatic illness that took you out of mainstream Life for a while. Start your own retraining regimen. (Maybe you already have but weren’t aware.)

It’s important to read everyday. Even the simple postings on social media are forcing you to read content, analyze it, and draw conclusions. Make certain real news is included in your diet of reading. Make certain you’re reading includes recreational content. Make certain your reading includes industry news that helps you recognize names of individuals as well as know which company merged with another – and which moved out of the state. Read.

Okay, so you haven’t been in school for a while. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to bury yourself in academic halls for another four to six years. There are continuing education classes offered that rely on not only being in a physical class room. There are online classes that can help you refresh your knowledge, remind you of techniques and tactics, and make you aware of innovations since you earned your degree. Maybe an online class or continuing education class of one hour in duration is the answer.

While we’re talking about school, there are some online universities that would like to add people who can teach a class. Investigate what their criteria for a course is. Since you have some time on your hands, you have time to research and outline your own course and present it – after you’ve done research on which universities are accepting new classes and what their terms are.

You’re blogging about your boring life and the travails of not finding things that are a match for what you have to offer. You’re taking your blogging skills for granted. Which platforms are you using? There are companies that need people who are skilled at using certain types of blogging platforms.

Then there’s technology. In addition to blogging, you may be capable of using software and applications with great ease. Maybe you’re even developing your own apps. Your cell phone is either an I-Phone or an Android, both of which use the tap and swipe methodology. You’ve probably ditched your stand alone and are now using a laptop. In fact, you’ve probably ditched your laptop and are now using a tablet (with wi-fi and double-sided camera). Are you getting some ideas yet about things you’ve been overlooking?

But we’re talking about actualizing new technology. We haven’t been talking about reinforcing existing knowledge. That’s fine. While you were “laid up”, situations arose wherein you could get involved in volunteer projects. Sure, they didn’t pay you dollars and cents for seeing your duties through to completion. But you were in charge of some aspect of the project or put your energies into fulfilling your duties. Volunteer projects can count toward maintaining skills and work experience.

In fact, that reminds me of a blog post that my colleague, Steve Levy, wrote about his being hospitalized. It was a time when hospitals didn’t allow patients to have access to the Internet. So Steve charmed one person after another and networked until he got permission to talk with the IT Department. They allowed him to have access to the Internet. His recruiting endeavors continued after a one day lapse. He gained new contacts at every rung of the hierarchy. I think he even picked up some candidates for some of his unfilled job orders. That post resonated with me in many ways.

There are many examples of unofficial things that are done that could be counted as applicable experience without straining to legitimize it. Too often we take situations for granted and miss the fact that they could be considered work experience. Too often we forget that what was done could have been a form of consulting. Just make certain you verify that interpretation before putting it forth without substantiation.

As for those continuing education classes, get your certificate that verifies your attendance and that you earned your credits. Then do some things in order to apply that refreshed, renewed knowledge. And then get out there and start networking so you can effectively market yourself.

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