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Question:

I need a job, and soon, but I feel like I don’t have much to offer an employer. I have been a mom at home most of my adult life. I have a degree in art history (20 years old), and three years of experience as a receptionist. I have some computer skills, but nothing that everybody else doesn’t have. How can I get an employer to overlook all this and offer me a job?

Answer:

Contrary to what you may believe, it is apparent from just the brief description above that you have many skills and benefits to offer any company.

That degree? It shows a certain amount of maturity and persistence. While there isn’t a huge demand for art history majors in Frederick County, you developed a lot of transferable skills in getting your degree. You have a lot of knowledge of what goes on in the world, patterns of history, storytelling capability, and an eye for detail.

Moms at home develop tremendous collections of transferable skills, and often fail to give themselves credit. At a minimum, you learned to run a household; manage multiple schedules and priorities; motivational skills, including those for difficult demographics (two-year-olds and teens); recordkeeping and budgeting; and lots more.

Add to that your receptionist experience, and you have the basics that will take you many places. People who haven’t been receptionists think it’s an easy job. But the first thing you learn on that job is that it’s anything but easy. Receptionists have to hold multiple, often competing, priorities in mind; know who on their staff handles which responsibilities; remember the schedules of many people; handle customers diplomatically; say no without offending or disappointing; deal with multiple people at once, without losing track; and, oh yes, answer the phone and direct callers to the person who can help. Plus you have to smile while doing all that.

The receptionist is the face of the company to the outside world. It’s the most important job in the company, but very few people know or appreciate that.

These are just the basics of the qualifications you mentioned. Add in your own personal accomplishments, and you’ll be in that new job in no time.

All this is to say that you have a vast collection of skills, abilities and experience to offer to your very fortunate next employer. If you want to think about your transferable skills, or get a shot of confidence, consider attending our free seminar: Instant Confidence! Sell Your Strengths. Check the calendar at Frederickworks.com/events for the next session.

 

About the Author

Beth Davis-Reinhold

Beth Davis-Reinhold is an instructor at Frederick County Workforce Services, where she has worked for over 20 years. She teaches job search seminars and basic computer skills. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and is Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3). Beth has been a member of Toastmasters International for more than 15 years, and is an Advanced Communicator Silver. A graduate of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Beth has also studied American Sign Language for many years. In addition to many sundry projects for FCWS, Beth writes its “Ask the Career Coach” blog.