I hear a lot of concerns about this one so I wanted to share some advice I think might help.
Watch below for my top tips on what to do if you’re more of a generalist than a specialist, and you’re feeling unsure about your next steps.
Got no time to watch? Here are the key takeaways:
I hear a lot of concerns from people who are not specialists because they don’t know how to market themselves to employers, and sometimes they have trouble figuring out which roles they want to go for next.
Here are my top tips for finding your direction if you’re more of a generalist or ‘jack of all trades’ than a specialist.
1) Understand your strengths
Before you move forward, you really need to have a good understanding of your key strengths. There are a few ways to approach this. You can either do a skills audit on yourself by reviewing your employment history (both paid and unpaid) or you can do an online assessment (there are some good options out there, I like the Values in Action Survey). It’s a good idea to get some input from other people such as work colleagues or friends and family because it’s difficult to be objective about what you’re good at. It’s something we all take for granted!
2) Choose which strengths you want to develop
Now that you have your list, review it and ask yourself, which strengths do I want to develop in the future? Which ones are going to help me grow in to the person I want to be? In other words, who do you want to become?
3) Your Passions and Interests
Now that you know which strengths you want to work on, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to do that. If you’re lucky, your current job may offer some opportunities. Maybe you can put your hand up for extra responsibilities or to lead a project. You can also involve your work colleagues outside of hours. For example if you want to develop your teaching skills and you are interested in wellbeing, maybe you get people together for an activity such as running or meditation at lunchtimes.
If there are no opportunities at your workplace, you will need to look at your passions and interests outside of work. Brainstorm your list and it may be a long one if you’re a person who’s interested in a lot of different subjects. When you have your list, narrow it down to your top four interests and look at ways that you can develop your chosen strengths through those activities.
So if one of your interests is cooking and you want to develop your strengths as a teacher, maybe you can offer to teach a cookery class at your child’s school, or if you’re interested in finance, you could look into teaching a ‘how to do a budget’ class at your local community centre or neighbourhood house. Similarly, if the skill you want to develop is writing and you’re interested in art, then you might try writing something about an art exhibition for the local newspaper.
Lastly, before you get excited and run off to do a million different activities, put together a plan for yourself and create both monthly and weekly goals. My advice would be to start small and build up from there, because it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Not only will you build your confidence and develop your skills by doing this activity, you will also attract new opportunities to yourself and start to see different possibilities for for how to progress your career.
You will be amazed at what will happen when you follow this process.
Let me know how you go in the comments!
PS: My next Melbourne workshop is open for bookings. We had a great group of women at the September workshop and I can’t wait to run this one again a the Swell Centre, Hawthorn on Thursday 8th November.
I’ve also been confirmed as a presenter at the Seven Sisters Festival in March, which I’m so thrilled about!!! Let me know if you’re going along. In the meantime, you can book your tickets for Transform your Career. This is for you if you’re looking to rediscover your passion and find some direction with your career.