By | Abhijit Bhaduri |Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist
Long weekends, average weekends, workdays are all beginning to look like each other. Vacations are not being taken. That is bad for your mental health and your creativity. There is an absolutely fabulous talk to help you understand productivity & mental health in this newsletter. Layoffs are are a major reason for mental health issues. You can use the headline offered by LinkedIn to stand out in the job market. And what should you never say in the headline? When someone wants to know why you were laid off, how should you answer the question by using a statistic? And is there an Insurance Policy that covers you against a layoff? (yes, there is) What is the “Niche Skill” that commands a premium in the marketplace? That is our lead story. So lets get started…
1. ‘Niche Skills’ Create A Marketplace Premium
Nineteenth-century West Point Military Academy cadets needed to be good at drawing because map making was in its infancy. Military officers were expected to draw maps on the fly and record a battlefield’s topography. It wasn’t a niche skill; it was vital to war. Imagine the skills that you have to be a pyramid. At the very top are skills which are unique to you. These are “hot skills” that the market pays a premium for. The seller of the skills sets a price. Just below that are skills most people will have. They are the “marketable skills” and most employers need them but they have many people to choose from. So the market sets the price. Then at the base of the pyramid, you have commodity skills – those which everyone is expected to have. But they do not create opportunities for you eg knowing Word/Excel/PowerPoint.
In a recession, the niche skills are MOST in demand. But these skills have to be learned by trial and error. There is no college or school which teaches these. A niche skills becomes a marketable skill and soon becomes a commodity in about 2-3 years. But 3 skills that will always be useful to build
- Dealing with people who are disagreeable
- Asking questions in less than 15 words
- How to explain an idea in simple terms in a minute
In this article they are called Expiring Skill and Permanent Skill. What is the sign that a skill has moved from being a niche to a Marketable Skill? My yardstick – when colleges start teaching anything, its already well on its way to getting commoditised. What other signs can tell you that a skill once hot is no longer worth anything? Leave your comment and share your ideas with everyone.
2. Explaining A Layoff In An Interview
One of the big challenges of being laid off is that it is one question that you must prepare to answer in any interview. While you do not need to use that as an ice-breaker, be prepared to have a short 30 second version you can share (yes, time it and rehearse that response).
- Safety in numbers: You could say, “I was one of the 122 million in India who were affected by the pandemic.” Or that “My division was shut down. That meant overnight all 125 of us were affected.”
- Keep it simple: You are not the first person to have experienced it. Nor will you be the last. So state it in a simple manner briefly.
- What have you done since: Talk about the skills you have sharpened since by taking online classes and also helping friends in their projects (if that is what you have done) with a conscious plan of developing a skill which a prospective employer could benefit from.Some more ideas are here
Have you had that experience. Tell us how you approached that question. Your advice may make all the difference to someone here. Leave a comment.
h/t: Tarandeep Kaur
3. Post Layoff – How to Change Your LinkedIn Headline
LinkedIn has more than 600 million members Your profile has a “Headline” segment that you must use to attract interest. Do not use it say things like, “Actively looking for new opportunities”. Do not use the headline to share your designation. The headline is meant to get a recruiter or a potential employer to pause and look at your detailed resume.
- a) What is your core skill : Eg Building apps for e-Commerce or Designing and delivering sales training etc.
- b) The results it could deliver: Eg resulting in 23% increase in sales revenue.
Tip: Use a great headshot in the profile. That is the first impression the recruiter makes. Photos with your children or pets are not appropriate for LinkedIn. Take a photo with a plain background where you are wearing business attire relevant to your industry and profession.
There is an option you should tick in your profile to have it become visible to recruiters <click here>
If you are a recruiter, please share what makes you stop and read a LinkedIn profile? Thanks
4. Do You Have A “Career Insurance” Policy?
Having a diverse network is not something most professionals think of doing consciously. Look at the people you are connected with on LinkedIn. Even in your social groups, what you need is diversity—of industry, age, skills, and background. During a recession or downturn chances are that many people from your industry have been affected. So knowing people in other industries helps.
- Create content that people value
- Start a newsletter
- Start a podcast/ YouTube channel
But my favourite piece of advice is here… read it
5. Why Do We Experience Burnout?
Creative folks do not define productivity by the hours you spend in front of your computer, but by the brilliance of your ideas. Having the time to be well rested and let your mind roam free makes you more creative. But your view of productivity may be the reason you get stressed.
In this TED talk, you are asked a great question. I had to pause and think – watch it
Let me know how you view productivity?