Don't look to skills training as a cure-all when it comes to your job search

Early career can be a confusing and stressful time, especially when you really want to land a job and aren't getting any traction. Perhaps you're unsure what you want to do. Or perhaps you've interviewed for an interesting position only to be told that you're too junior. Or maybe you've talked to a recruiter or a friend who leads you to believe that if you had a CPA, or project management certification, or more specific functional training, you might be hired for the right job.

We talk to job seekers every day, and we know that all of these scenarios are common. We also know that it's natural that job seekers feeling pressure want to solve the problem as quickly as possible.

At first glance, skills training programs can seem like a quick solution to emotions such as uncertainty and fear. The marketing departments for these programs understand these emotions, which is why bootcamps, certification courses, and graduate courses come with the stated or unstated promise that if you go through the training, you will land a job. 

The appeal of skills training is clear: If you take a course or a program in X, Y, or Z, then you will be qualified to land a job doing X. Y, or Z. Dilemma solved.

But there are two problems with going this route: 

1) There's no assurance the job you land will be the right job for you. And that's because skills training programs skip the critical self-discovery component and go straight into the training component. In other words, they start with the assumption that you know what you want to do. Once you head in this direction of acquiring very specific skills in a very specific sector, it can be difficult to pivot if you decide later that you don’t enjoy what you’re doing.  

2) You may not actually land a job. We've spoken to several job seekers who have hopefully enrolled in certificate courses, week-long trainings, or bootcamps only to check in with them months later and see that they still haven't landed jobs. And this could be because when they do interview for a position they're technically qualified for, the person doing the interviewing can see that they are not excited enough about the job. Or it could be that the certification is not enough with the seeker's experience level to qualify for the intended roles.

Excitement matters. Fit matters.

It’s important look before you leap, not only at cliffs over the ocean, and at the skills training course, but also at yourself. The most important first step in any job search is defining what will make you happy and fulfilled at work, which is why at ArcVida we guide all our clients through this self-discovery process. Even people who know the exact role they are pursuing do this work (more quickly!) so that they can confidently, clearly articulate their skills and motivations in conversation and interviews. It takes work and focus, but not too many hours, and it makes a significant difference in the early stages and throughout your career.

Let us help show you how we do this: register for our trial

Published on 4/3/2019