3 Reasons You Should Focus on your Skills, Not a Profession

My career has been an inception of sorts: my foundation funds job-creation programs that will help people find the jobs their most passionate and deserving of. However, the idea of a profession is starting to welter away from society, just like a dream that slips from memory as soon as your eyes open. Instead, career coaches believe that these profession-bound hopefuls will focus more on the skills that come along with following their dream career, as they can carry more weight than the career choice itself.

It’s a revolutionary way of thinking as it expands the opportunities to take a career path you may have never thought of and thrive. Below are three reasons why this focus of skills rather than a profession will help you out in the long run:

The Freedom from the 9-to-5

Often times people become irritated with the mundane, the same old reports typed and filed at the office, the same old lunch packed every day. The desire for wanting to get more out of your strengths and skills is what will drive you to do so. For example: in the first book of the MY JOB series, I feature Matt Severson, who at the time worked as a Google Technologist. You would imagine that Matt was thrilled to work for a company that has been ranked the best place to work by Fortune for six years running.

But his job isn’t his passion project. He also founded The School Fund, a nonprofit organization that raises money for low-income but high-potential secondary schools in underdeveloped parts of the world. He credits Google for helping him learn to professionally manage partners, and public speaking on the behalf of The School Fund helped him communicate with his co-workers and superiors at Google more efficiently.

Matt’s story is not only a shining example of why you should still follow your passion projects outside of work, but also how the skills you learn at work can carry over and benefit you in all aspects of life, and perhaps even in a new business venture. Google is the Holy Grail of companies, yet Matt still needed another outlet to show off his abilities and that would fulfill his personal needs. And he excels at both. As Matt proves, you shouldn’t let your profession pull you away from using your talents in other ways. But rather, you should let your skills take you to places you never thought imaginable.

The Transfer of Your Talents

Where is it written that your profession is the only one destined for you? Your job is just one chapter about you, it isn’t the whole story. If you’re on a job hunt, look for careers that these skills can carry over from. Don’t just focus on skills that are listed on your resume, but ones you learned at your career, as Matt did with his skills at Google, that help him lead at The School Fund.

Forbes reported that the most transferable skills when changing careers include communication, critical thinking, and ability to work well with a team, among others. These are skills you learn at every job, and ones you likely excel at because of its everyday use. You may find these qualifications carry over to various different fields and career options, ones you may have not even considered back in college. The doors are opened, the possibilities are endless.

Sometimes, you might need a refresher on these skills. Go back to the basics and pick up the old college textbooks and notebooks if you have them saved, research more about the most in-demand skills online, and practice so them so often that they go from a bullet point on your resume to a talent and character trait.

The Expansion of a Gig Economy

This way of thinking also brings forth another big trend: the idea of a gig economy. According to WhatIs.com, a gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common, allowing organizations to contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. With gig economies on the rise, the workers are developing further skills that can help with their next project. It’s not just the skill set that these employees find beneficial, but the ability to change jobs and evolve throughout the process. These short-term contracts allow a more stable work-life balance.

The major point as to why skills are more valuable over a profession is this: skills hold more weight than a profession does. Skills that you can use at home, with friends, or to use in your hobby. They don’t hold you down like a profession might, they lift you higher. So, build these skills, take them for their face value, and improve their worth.

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