Title Card - Adjusting Your Skills Mindset

Adjusting Your Skills Mindset

Unemployment can be a real drag. The pandemic caused many of us to be unemployed for various reasons, but for me, the main reason was because of safety. I worked in the service industry at the time, and lockdowns meant I could not work in a setting where the majority of your time was spent in close proximity to other people. So, although I technically was only laid off at the time, I wasn’t earning money, so I was as good as unemployed for the first time in my career.

I had always considered retail to be a temporary solution that allowed me to earn money part time while going to school, and so I still hadn’t found a position in computer science, which is where I wanted to be. The trouble with that is the fact that at that moment in time, all of my experience and most of my education were in something else. I didn’t take a Coop program in university, so all of my experience to that point consisted of fast food kitchen experience and customer service sales experience. My education was a major in English with only a minor in Computer Science and French. So, how would I leverage this to get into the job I wanted?

The key for me involved breaking down my education and experience to see what marketable skills I had, and see if I could find a job that used all or most of those skills. I identified that I was very good at:

  • Verbal Communication: You can’t be in sales without talking to people! I learned a lot in the years I spent selling jewellery.
  • Written Communication: Being an English major and a writing hobbyist, I gleaned a solid understanding of the English language while also having a passable understanding of French through a minor.
  • Attention to Detail: Essays are one thing, using the finer details of a product to sell it is another, and gaining an understanding of a person’s needs quickly requires astute observation and careful attention.
  • Time Management and Multitasking: Working in the kitchen fires doing multiple things at once teaches you how to manage a lot of different things at once very quickly, because if you don’t, you inevitably fall behind.
  • Computers: Even if it was only a minor, I knew that I had a solid foundation when it came to computer knowledge, and I knew that if asked, I could show it to anyone who gave me the opportunity to do so.

So, I came armed with a solid bunch of marketable skills! Now the question was, what sort of job does this type of skillset mesh with?

My first real job in the field I was looking for actually came in the form of an IT Help Desk. The job required a person who was able to speak with people effectively while also determining the root of their problem even if they didn’t know it themselves, all under a computer context. Sound familiar? As it turned out, I was preparing for this for four years in sales, and I didn’t even know it!

In the end, service desk felt like the perfect place for me, as it took all of the best parts of my skills and put them to use. I took pride in the fact that I was one of the top IT Analysts on the desk in terms of resolution rate, and was one of the most complimented too with a high rate of positive feedback. That job led me to my current one, and I have always been very proud in the work that I do.

It is this kind of self-analysis that I always encourage for anyone. Sometimes, finding the skills that suit the job you want is the way you would like to go, but I find that it is far easier to find a job that suits the skills you already have!