It is my belief that there is no “quality” difference between people who work in “blue collar” and “white collar” jobs. Talented people anywhere in an organization will move up quickly if they are provided opportunity, education and good mentoring.
Consider a cashier at a chain store. There is no more important position in any organization than one which serves as the face of the organization. People who are dependable, friendly, helpful, accurate, and take initiative can succeed in this position. And you also make great managers!
I’m willing to bet that you have hidden talents. Here is an exercise you might consider: Make a list of everything you’ve done today: the relationships you nurtured, the solutions you found, the people who left your presence better off, with a lighter step. Next, take an inventory of your week. What projects have you accomplished? What new skill did you learn? List any goals you set, met or exceeded.
These don’t have to be monumental skills, or substantial projects. Examples might be: A customer came in to return an item, she is very upset. By the time she leaves with her replacement item, she is smiling. Or, during your break you happened to run into the furniture manager, and discuss how to help her increase sales while working at the register. Perhaps you’ve been noticing recurring questions from customers on a particular display, and create signage to help minimize confusion. What may seem like small successes show you can notice pieces of a system that aren’t working, or could work more efficiently, and create solutions. These are all things managers do, though on a larger scale. Use these exercises to gain confidence and hone your message, so you’re ready when someone notices your many talents! (Next blog: how employers can recognize and recruit Hidden Talent in non-traditional environments.)
A great resume is written in the language of the target position. Once you’ve completed this exercise, translate this list into the language used to support the industry or sector of your dream job you’re. Your skills are transferable. Show you are already doing the job you are targeting. If you’re applying for a promotion to senior cashier, use language that shows your leadership, ability to be accountable and to nurture relationships with those at all levels of the organization.
Don’t know what your dream job is? Find a coach or mentor to help you figure it out. Is there someone in your organization you admire and have always wanted to know? Is there one who is doing a job you find intriguing? Do you already have a relationship with this person? If you have no one in mind, consider what traits the ideal person should have to help you reach your career goals. Perhaps you will need to find someone from outside your organization. How would you go about doing that?
I would love to hear your story of success, or answer your questions about next steps. Please reach out or leave a comment.