Not long ago, I met Katherine at a library where I was teaching a job search skills class. Later, we started corresponding about her job search and I learned that Katherine has talents and interests other than the ones she is promoting in her search. Katherine makes greeting cards in her leisure time and she would love to work with greeting card companies.
So, when I found a library event called, “Create Your Own Valentine Cards!” I emailed Katherine the event link and I encouraged her to attend. I told her to ask the library staff if she could teach library visitors how to make cards. I emphasized that this would be a great way for her to let others know about her interest and talent, and it would be a great way to network.
Recently, we hired a new IT guy. Guess what his profession was before he started working for us? A chemist with a Ph.D. Turns out he had an interest in technology since he was a teenager, and as a chemist with his former company, he performed IT duties about half the time. Then while he was job searching, he found that his experience matched our IT job description. With no certifications in technology, he proved in the interview that he could do the job by focusing on his technology experience and desire.
Have you considered all of your talents and interests as you look for your next job? There are schools that offer leisure / lifelong learning programs such as Leisure Learning at Lone Star College, Academy for Lifelong Learning at Lone Star College, Alley Theatre, and Leisure Learning Unlimited, Inc. See if these are places where you can share what you know with others.
Don’t forget to check programs at museums, community centers, churches, and even retail establishments. I’ve taken a watercolor class at a library, learned about homeopathy at a grocery store, and recently, had private lessons on mastering…ok, playing the ukulele.
I encourage you to do the same as Katherine and our IT guy. Think about all of your talents, interests and knowledge and how they might get you that next job. Broaden your job search by finding opportunities where you can share what you know and network. As for me, the next thing I want to learn is archery. Know anyone?
Josie Toth is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions. She facilitates job search skills and career exploration classes in the 13-county Houston-Galveston area. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and enjoys encouraging others in their pursuit of meaningful work.