If job applications were reviewed as a series of tick boxes, we would all be out of work.
Why? Employers don’t always know what they’re looking for. Job descriptions often become a list of skills and requirements that put the right candidates off, and no perfect match is found.
It’s time to look beyond the lists, beyond the labels, and see that we are more than all that. The key to securing your ideal new role? You need to learn to S.U.R.F.
S = Skillful
U = Unconscious
R = Relevant
F = Flexible
What does S.U.R.F.ing have to do with your job search?
Read on, and we really hope you enjoy the ride…
S. = Skillful
If someone asked you “what do you do?” how would you answer? You will probably answer with a label. “I’m a teacher” “I’m a scientist” “I’m a….” But does that label really describe all that you are? Labels narrow down our options and often stop us from applying for jobs that could actually be a perfect fit.
We need to be skillful at identifying our skills! One of the main reasons I see for people being unmotivated in their careers is because they neglect to see half of the skills that they have. If they can’t see them, how will a potential employer?
It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with what you’ve got!
S.U. = Unconscious
We all have skills that are innate. Those things we do without even thinking about it – that we wouldn’t necessarily add to the skills section on our CV (and that’s where the problem lies!). What motivates you at a deeper level? Knowing yourself and what makes you tick is an extremely attractive quality in a candidate.
Ask yourself what’s important to you? What gives you the greatest buzz at work and makes you excited? If money was no object, what would you really love to do?
Remember, it’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with what you’ve got!
S.U.R. = Relevant
Now that you’ve identified those hidden skills and motivations, you need to make them relevant to the job market. They may not match the exact skills listed on a job description, so it’s time to delve deeper and discover what your unique skills and experience could bring to an organization.
Step into the shoes of the employer and try to read between the lines of their job description. You may not be a perfect fit for the skills they’ve listed as ‘required’, but how could your skills actually provide answers and solutions to their problems?
What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are the external opportunities and threats for the organisation? Now do the same exercise on yourself. What are the strengths you have that might minimize their weaknesses and threats? What have you got that will enable them to take advantage of an opportunity.
Tailor your CV and cover letter accordingly, and send it off with confidence. By offering a solution to the initial problems posed by the job description, you are going above and beyond and demonstrating to the employer how skillful you are.
Always remember, it’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with what you’ve got!
S.U.R.F. = Flexible
The key to S.U.R.F.ing your way to a new career, is to be more flexible. Whilst job descriptions can often appear rigid with a list of non-negotiable skills and expertise, you don’t need to be the same! Experiment with new career ideas, try new roles and embrace change. Your skills are far more flexible than you may think! Keep your mind open to the possibility that you may be suited to a role that you would have previously dismissed.
One last time, it’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you do with what you’ve got!
Learning to S.U.R.F. is easier than you might have thought!
It doesn’t have to be sink or swim. Ride the waves of the job market and find a career that leaves you excited, motivated, and looking forward to Monday mornings…