One of my clients is in his late 20s. He’s been a Program Manager for the last 18 months. When I ran into him recently, he told me that he wants to leave his current job but can’t because he hasn’t been there two years. I asked him, “What’s the difference between a year and a half and two years?” For a company looking for a manager with 1-3 years’ experience, he fits the qualifications. He’s not looking to move up in his career at this point. Why not make a lateral move? Why does my client want to move? His boss is not supportive, and there is some chance he could be fired or demoted. Now is the time for him to move.
When I first meet clients, they often present themselves in terms of what they lack: “I don’t have a college degree.” “I just graduated, so I don’t really have experience.” “I don’t know how to use Excel.”
My answer is simple: Sell what you have. Market your strengths. When we think in positive terms, we are able to present ourselves with confidence. The language we use is stronger and more convincing. Most importantly, we are giving employers good reasons to make a job offer. I’m not saying that we should ignore gaps in our resumes and careers. If an employer needs something we don’t have, we need to be able to offer some alternative selling point. Be ready when an employer brings up what you don’t have. Show why what you have is more important than what you lack.