Standing Out From the Crowd
One of the biggest changes across all industries in the 20th and 21st centuries has been specialization. Intense focus on a specific task or aspect of a job has allowed our economy to flourish and created specialized, niche careers for people. While these specializations allow for an overall increase in economic productivity they can be detrimental to a worker’s potential employ-ability. Specializations have created a workforce, and an average worker, who does not have a wide base of skills but instead holds unique skills within a specific area. This make’s it that if you are forced to change careers, you could be faced with the task of completely starting over in terms of learning job skills. “Nowadays, people have too many jobs to comfortably fit them all on a one- or two-page resume…” (Gershon, 70). On the other hand specialization allows for mastery of certain high level skills within a given area. This can create a worker who is more than well equipped for the right job. The balance comes in trying to find a job which you have those specialized skills for while also not pigeonholing yourself to a select few positions due to over-specialization. “Job seekers, in order to be hired, are never using just one genre…” (Gershon, 68). There are many thoughts and debates on whether or not to specialize.
Standing out from the other applicants for a potential job can be a challenging task. Being specialized in that job can make a major difference. But also having extra skills outside your necessary job tasks can be helpful as well. Knowing what job you are applying for and with what company can help inform you as to whether to appear specialized or not, in this regard. Knowing how to select and promote certain skills to an employer is important, especially on a resume or LinkedIn profile, as Gershon points out. For example, like many of today’s millennial job applicants I am very computer savvy. Most, if not all of us millennials, are proficient in social media and the Microsoft Office suite. While just a decade ago these may have been large positives for a job prospect, these days skills like this are fairly basic and unlikely to impress enough on their own. In this case knowing these extra skills are not a true point of specialization.
Accentuating your strengths can be hard for a lot of people. It’s about recognizing those strengths, touting them, and providing strong examples. Improving weaknesses comes much the same way. It starts with identifying those weaknesses and taking steps to improve them as best you can. This self reflection and identification is one of the most important skills to nurture as it allows you to self analyze and self correct. Because as Gershon said, “…hiring managers have become more demanding about the kinds of skills they would like applicants to have.” (Gershon, 76)