Expert in one field not always top in another

Friday, January 29, 2016, Vol. 40, No. 5

How many things have you truly mastered? For example, you must know how to cook to survive day to day. But, is your food the quality of a professional chef?

Similarly, you might like to travel, domestically and maybe even internationally. But, how good are you at booking travel?

In both examples, chances are good you would much prefer to be the customer.

You probably aren’t a professional chef or so skilled with travel you could take it on as a full-time job.

Where does your expertise lie?

For example, project managers should be organized, able to write business requirements and good at leading meetings.

Let’s contrast this with what makes someone good at looking for a job: being well-spoken, good at self-promotion and a strong networker.

This is a short list of just a few things, but they’re different skills.

The skills needed to be a good project manager are different than those required to be a great job seeker.

To become a true expert at something, you must do it every day. This is what happens with your day job.

But when you’re tasked with something you rarely do, like planning a luxury vacation, you either get by doing the minimum or you contact a professional to help you.

You know you’ll never be the best at it because you don’t do it all the time. And, that’s OK because your career’s future doesn’t depend on how well you cook or how great your travel reservations are.

Unfortunately, when it comes to job seeking, this is not the case.

How good you are at job searching can have a major impact on your future – and the amount of money you make.

But how can you be an expert at something you only do once every five years?

Often, job seekers say, “The companies just don’t like me!” Or, “They must not think I can do this job!”

They could be right. The company may hate them. The company may think they’re unqualified or judge them on some part of their history.

Alternatively, it’s possible that nobody’s seeing the job seeker’s resume at all. It’s possible the resume never makes it out of the online system.

Does the fact that you don’t have a lot of practice looking for a job mean that you aren’t good at doing the job? No.

In fact, in might mean the opposite. If you haven’t looked for a job very often, it could be because you’ve been happy at your current job – or because hiring managers have recruited you first.

It’s possible you’re great at your job – but not so great at finding a job. They’re two different skill sets.

Before you give up on your search, take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

That frustration you’re feeling is probably not a reflection of how good you are at your day job. It could very well be with the challenging job searching process.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at