Dear Career Coach,
My current job title (Account Manager) can mean different things at different companies—anything from a sales role to more of a project execution role.
I’m currently job searching, and I feel like my experience doesn't actually line up with most of the “Account Management” jobs out there. How can I optimize my job search and find roles that actually match my skills?
Qualified But Confused
Dear Qualified But Confused,
A job title is a nicely packaged label, but we’re more than just a title.
Your background and experiences provide a wide array of knowledge, skills, and strengths that you can transfer over to any job.
Instead of searching by title, I’d start by researching the responsibilities that excite and energize you. That means instead of confining yourself to a job title, start describing what’s involved with your ideal role instead.
Here’s How to Do That
I recommend starting with an exercise that resembles digging for career gold, where you’ll evaluate all of the positions you have held throughout your career and ask yourself things like:
- What did I love about this job?
- When did I lose track of time?
- When was I most excited?
As you go through this process, jot down all of the responsibilities you enjoyed and skills you liked using.
Next, I want you to take a look at this list and start identifying common threads and patterns. Were you happiest when crunching data? Interacting with clients? Problem solving in a team? Building something from nothing? Working on one long-term project vs. multiple short ones?
As you start to understand your skills and interests, you can lead your job search by sharing the story of what you’re looking for. Each time you share your dream role including the skills and interests you align with, two things will happen:
- You’ll open up closed doors as more people hear you stating what you’re looking for. It’s amazing what connections and opportunities crop up once we share our goals with the world.
- You’ll hear recommendations from people that often sound like, “Have you ever considered [blank]?” or “Have you talked to [blank]?” Whether you’re talking to career experts, recruiters, friends, or strangers, everyone in the world has unique perspectives, contacts, and experiences that they are able to share with you in turn.
Once you figure out what types of roles really intrigue you, then you can craft your personal brand and ensure you’re highlighting a cohesive and consistent story in all of your online and offline marketing materials.
More importantly, you can start a targeted networking campaign to spark conversations with people who will be able to share more about the career paths you’re truly interested in. These informational interviews can lead into informal job interviews... which can lead to offers.
It’s easy to feel welded to your title in your job search, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Turn your attention to your skills and experiences instead, and I’m confident that you’ll find job opportunities that are way better suited to what you’re looking for. Good luck!
This article is part of our Ask an Expert series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns. Our experts are excited to answer all of your burning questions, and you can submit one by emailing us at editor(at)themuse(dot)com and using Ask a Credible Career Coach in the subject line.
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TopicsAsk an Expert , Syndication , Finding a Job , Job Titles , Job Search , Ask a Credible Career Coach
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Emily Liou is the founder of CultiVitae, where she is fortunate to teach and coach heart-centered professionals to land their dream jobs. Emily believes because we spend 40+ hours a week at work, we should find something that fulfills our purpose on this planet. She is the creator of The Happily Hired Formula, the ultimate e-course program that guides job seekers to start looking forward to Mondays!More from this Author