As employees, workers and jobseekers, we all have huge capacity and high potential but sometimes we are the last to see this. If you want proof, on any given day there are people out there undervaluing and underselling themselves, particularly when they are looking for work – which is perhaps when a person needs to see and know his or her value most.
I remember a news article about employers in the US hiring ex-service personnel. Companies who did this are more likely to do it again. As the article says of one such case…
“[Employers] wanted to hire him for the things they couldn’t teach him. The intangibles that would make him excel.”
To offer a quick translation, that’s an employer’s way of saying, ‘we’re hiring you for you’. In other words, it’s not your technical skills – we can teach those. It’s your willingness, your motivation, your desire to do a good job – these are qualities employers want to hire into their companies – and they all belong to you.
Sadly, the job market doesn’t remind us of this, and neither do most employers. What’s worse is the daily experience of looking for a job tends to do the reverse. Wonderful qualities like these can be ground out of us, although in my view never completely…
That’s because ‘intangibles’ like these are hard-wired into all of us. Sometimes they might take a little time to understand and/or awaken. Sometimes you have to go looking for them a little harder than you would like – which is why I tend to fall back on exploring, especially when career times are tough.
How to find (or reignite) these qualities in ourselves – in anyone and everyone – is perhaps the main reason I’m still writing about this subject today. If all of this was easy to remember. If the outside world of employers, work and looking for work instilled this awareness into all of us every single day, I’d happily hang up my pen and do something else for the next twenty years.
The reality is we need to remind ourselves all the time, one person at a time, of what we’ve got and why employers need it. How there is very likely to be a company or group of people out there right now who could make great use of your effort, your energy, your good will and good humour. Qualities like these are a vital part of every well oiled, well ordered company machine. Without us it doesn’t work, no matter how shiny, imposing or perfect it seems from the outside.
Being confident about what you have to offer employers isn’t a case of feeling superior, of having great expectations or getting all up on a high horse and telling people how lucky they would be to have you. I think it’s more about each person – every employee, every job seeker, every worker – deep-down knowing they have something valuable, something important and something very special, maybe even unique, on offer.
When you know this, and when you put this knowledge alongside the fact that employers are out there looking for people every single day, your opinion of what you have, and what employers value, may never be the same again.
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Image courtesy of Hannah Sheffield on Flickr.com
[An earlier version of this article was published here]