“How Do I Sell Myself To Potential Employers?”

Doug's all fired up for his next challenge. But without an obvious career trajectory, he's struggling to present his skills in a compelling way. When you don't have a clear destination in mind, how do you effectively put across what you can offer?

What's your career history and current job?

I've never really known what I wanted to do, so I've had a somewhat chequered career history!

I studied German and Spanish at university, and I'm a qualified teacher. Amongst other things, I've also been a website and project manager for a private sector training company, and I've worked for a government funding agency in education.

Most recently, I was in a public sector role, doing quality assurance investigations for companies that help children on the brink of expulsion from school. However, due to funding cuts my job was recently made redundant.

How do you feel about your work?

I liked my most recent role, because I believed in the service it helped provide.

But I've never felt really fired up about any of the work I've done.

Throughout my career I've tended to fall into niche jobs, because I've got quite a rare combination of skills. I'm also willing to throw myself straight into new challenges and get things done.

Most of my jobs have included a combination of features I like, and features I don't. This has helped me narrow down some of the aspects of work I prefer doing, such as running a team, training others, and writing.

What would you like to be doing instead?

I honestly don't know!

It's so frustrating, because it's hard to be focused and ambitious when you don't have a clear sense of direction.

I don't do anything half-heartedly, and I'm certain that if I could just find something I really want to do, there would be no stopping me.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

To give myself the best chance of finding work I really enjoy, I don't want to pigeonhole myself into one sector, or one particular set of skills.

But not knowing what I want to do, and not having a clear and consistent career history, means it's a challenge to sell myself to potential employers.

My friends have recommended sites like LinkedIn, and I've signed up to some online job boards. But when it comes to creating a profile, I'm stuck.

The world of online recruitment seems completely geared towards people who have straightforward career paths, and who already know where they're headed next.

I've been going round in circles, reading lots of conflicting advice about what employers are looking for. I've also had my CV professionally written, but I'm not sure it really reflects who I am.

Meanwhile, my friends keep telling me to stop overthinking. They say I should just write a brief profile and get it online. But how can I, when I don't know what to say?

It all feels so hopeless, and I've started to think that online job hunting is a game I'm never going to win.

How can I get past all this confusion, and present myself clearly enough to find work I love?

Can you help Doug?
  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • How do you think Doug could move his shift forwards?
  • Do you know anyone he could talk to?

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