Diary Room: The Challenges of Self-Promotion
So, I’m no longer a student and my Diploma certificate is sitting happily in its frame. Now I need to find a job. I have, in some respects, been lucky. In 2013, just after I had begun the Counselling course, I found out that the organisation I was working for was having a big internal restructure, the upshot of which was that my job would no longer exist. My options were to stay or to take voluntary redundancy and a payout. After some thought, I decided that I was ready for a change – that this might well be the proverbial kick up the arse I needed – and so I opted for the latter. At the time, I essentially had two roles as I was also on secondment to a communications project which taught me a lot of new skills. The project was due to end at the same time as my main role so the timing was perfect. With the money from the pay-out I could, with some alterations to my life, focus on my counselling studies and client work .
Now I’m back in the job market. I have to be honest though, this aspect of life doesn’t come easily to me. I’m a good communicator, but job hunting requires not just communication skills but a knack for self-promotion.
I recently completed a personality test designed to help people determine where their abilities and interests lie. My personality type came out as ‘Campaigner’ – meaning that my focus is very much on thoughts, connections and expression. Pushing myself forward – rather than promoting a theory or insight – is more of a challenge. Essentially, I find it much easier to clearly say ‘This is a good idea’ than I do to say ‘I’m a good person, employ me’
As a result of this, in the past I have tended to undersell myself on job applications. Or, in my younger days, taken what seemed like safe but unrewarding roles because I lacked the confidence that I could effectively sell myself for something better.
I want to change this. To try a new approach. So I’ve been doing things to try and help me get my professional light out from under my bushel. I’ve revised my CV so it gives some idea of what I can offer as well as the places where I’ve been. I’ve set up a LinkedIn account. I’ve started looking at jobsites to get an idea of what’s out there.
Co-incidentally, I’ve also joined a few dating sites. These too depend on a knack for a certain kind of self-promotion. I tried online dating a few years ago and never felt I got a handle on it. That’s not to say that it didn’t leave me with a few stories to tell. It’s just that they weren’t very happy ones. However, I’m curious to see what will happen this time around.
I may no longer be a student but I still have things to learn. Which can only be a good thing.