Career Advice – Five Ways To Express A Generalist Background As A Subject Matter Expert

Feb 9 2011 in Featured, Job Search Strategy, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

best career advice, best job search information, career advice, job search information, job search advice, job search help, job search tips, career information, career help, career tips, career info, job search info, best career advice, best job search information

The days of candidates successfully selling themselves as generalists are over. This presents challenges for candidates who view themselves as generalists – how to highlight the Subject Matter Expertise also in their background. Today’s career advice centers helps candidates navigate how to redefine themselves as subject matter experts to increase job market success.

Even a mom & pop retail store manager is likely to be hired first as a subject matter expert and secondarily for general skills. Why? It’s too difficult to choose between generalists because they make themselves indistinguishable – generalist skills look alike on paper, while subject matter expertise stands out.

Additionally, using a generalist resume typically increases ageism by hiring managers who look for hands-on skills in addition to management skills.

But this really goes beyond your resume to affect your entire job search. Your self-definition affects everything from the jobs you apply for, the companies you target all the way through how you present yourself to prospective employers.

Today’s career advice is a listing of 5 ways to express a generalist background as a subject matter expert:

  1. Get over it: The first step is recognition. Many generalist candidates feel proud to describe themselves this way bssed on the cumulative effect of years of experience. Throughout their career they’ve been told that generalist skills are desired. While these skills are desired in the workplace, generalist skills are rarely the primary reason a candidate is chosen for interview and hire. See “Career Advice – Why Do Employers Hire Specialists for Generalist Jobs?“ http://www.recareered.com/blog/2011/02/11/career-advice-why-do-employers-hire-specialists-for-generalist-jobs/ for more details.
  2. What do you do better than anyone else? Focus on what you do better than anyone else, rather than on all the things you could do. I could probably figure out rocket science, but would you want to be my test pilot?
  3. Coordinate key skills with target company key problems: If your target company’s priority problem is cutting costs, why would you highlight your ability to increase sales? Yet that’s what most candidates do when they send a standards (or merely tweaked) resume. Instead show your cost cutting accomplishments. If you highlight sales (because you’re proud of these skills), you’re solving someone elses’ problems, and make it unlikely that your target will see you as a fit.
  4. Choose just a couple of hats: If you describe yourself as a generalist, you probably view your career as wearing many hats. Choose just a couple of these hats to highlight on your resume. Include the rest of your hats in your skills inventory at the end of your resume (see: “Resume Ideas – Add A Skills Inventory To Get Noticed For More Jobs” http://www.recareered.com/blog/2010/02/10/resume-ideas-add-a-skills-inventory-to-get-noticed-for-more-jobs/).
  5. Change your view of what SME means: Your subject matter expertise doesn’t have to be quite as specific as the SME of a staff level employee. Instead, your subject matter expertise can be your industry, your product, your customer segment, a specific function, accomplishment, skill, technology, or income effect.

How will you change your generalist approach to instead highlight your subject matter expertise?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Want to do more than just complain about a bad economy?

To attend our next complimentary live webinar featuring action items to double your resume response rate and number of interviews, plus live career Q&A with Phil Rosenberg of reCareered, register at http://ResumeWebinar.com .

Available Now On Amazon: Job Search Secrets - Rethink Your Job Search Now, By Phil Rosenberg

Phil shows you why your current job search strategies work against you and how to replace them with strategies that improve your odds. Phil provides you with research - cold, hard statistics provided by job boards and hiring managers themselves, to show you what works for you and against you in the worst job market in our lifetimes.

Download Job Search Secrets on Amazon

Join our mailing list for newsletters, announcements of complimentary upcoming webinars and other job search resources. Sign up at http://reCareered.com/newsletter/

For access to more information:
Connect to Phil Rosenberg on Linkedin: http://linkedin.com/in/philrosenberg
Follow reCareered on Linkedin: http://linkedin.com/company/recareered.com
Like reCareered on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/reCareered
Follow Phil Rosenberg on Google+: http://gplus.to/philrosenberg
Follow reCareered on Twitter: http://twitter.com/philreCareered
Join Career Change Central on Linkedin: http://linkedin.com/e/gis/1800872

Source: http://reCareered.com
Author: Phil Rosenberg

You might also like

Career Advice – Why Do Employers Hire Specialists for Generalist Jobs? This is a shock to the system of many candidates with small business management backgrounds, former...
Job Seekers: Branding Yourself As A Generalist Doesn’t Work It used to be, the further you got in your career, the more you described yourself as a generalist. You’d...
8 Ways To Brand Yourself As A SME (even if you’re a generalist) As I discussed in earlier articles, branding yourself as a generalist...
Who Needs Generalists Anymore? Seth Godin, one of the marketing geniuses of our time, had a brilliant post, “We Specialize in...