A recent Gallup “State of the American Workforce” report revealed that 70 percent of U.S. workers “are not reaching their full potential,” and University of Alabama at Birmingham experts said it is for good reason.
“People are being called upon to do more for less,” said Suzanne Scott-Trammell, executive director of UAB Career & Professional Development Services. “When the economy improves, we will likely see many employees changing jobs.”
Robert Robicheaux, Ph.D., marketing professor and chairman of Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution and Economics in the UAB School of Business, agreed that the sluggish economy has impacted workers’ job status.
Scott-Trammell and Robicheaux offered tips to help workers reinvent themselves:
Turn your passion into a paycheck. “Ask yourself what you enjoy, then think about how you can use that skill or talent to help a company make money,” Robicheaux said. “Find a job where what you like to do can be applied to a business function.”
Be realistic. “Until you can offer employers what they are looking for, you won’t be hired,” he said. “Companies do not seek people who simply want to work for them. They seek people who can add value immediately to their organizations.”
Get training. “Evaluate what skills are needed to see if you have gaps that can be filled by a specific area of training,” said Scott-Trammell.
Do your research. “Seeking jobs from the companies that need what you have to offer is the key step to reinventing your career self,” Robicheaux said. “Scour the newspapers and Internet to see what jobs companies are seeking to fill. Learn where the job growth is occurring and see what industries are expected to lead in the coming decades.”
Network. “Talk to people in the field you are pursuing,” Scott-Trammell said. “Go to conferences or meetings where professionals in your field will be, then get to know them, network, talk about their needs – be part of the solution.”
Be open-minded. “There are lots of jobs people won’t open up possibilities to, but don’t rule out a job before you even know what it is,” Robicheaux said. “Some positions that often get scoffed at, he said, might be fulfilling or lucrative and allow you to use your skillset.”