The “Problem of Plenty” and your employability. Challenges of being multi skilled.

The Problem of Plenty – Your employability & Job Search

One of the problems we have seen job seekers facing during their job search is the “problem of plenty – POP”. Some of them seem to have seen it all and done it all. They have been a part of lot of projects, juggling between multiple roles, helping the bosses with multiple tasks – and are carrying a feeling that they are “know it all” or well exposed. Let’s call these people the “POP Professionals.

When you look at your past, work experience and learning’s – you feel that you have done a lot. When you create your resume – you try to fill in as much as possible, try to capture all your learning’s, work areas, experiences and at times even small mundane activities to project your  competence and ability to your prospective employer.

However, despite so much of experience, so much of exposure and so much of learning’s you find yourself unable to land up an interview call. If you are able to some how work out an interview call, you are not able to crack the interview.

Problem of plenty (POP) & your not getting an interview call:

If you are a “POP Professional” you might be facing POP either in real sense (considering the diverse nature of your role) or as based on a “self glorified” assumption about your work and your experience – it’s likely that you are falling in the trap of projecting too much.

In such a case a prospective employer or a hiring manager is not able to figure out your key strengths and suitability by looking at your resume. May be, with your present and past employers – your role comprised several work areas in small quantities, other employers may not have similar roles – they may have roles that need more depth and specialisation on specific areas.

For example: In a small business Company A, you are doing an HR, Admin & Accounting role, if you try to project each of this work area as your speciality and area of expertise – its unlikely that you will have many employers calling you. Normally companies would have separate positions to man HR & Admin , &  Finance & Accounting.  This is a very simple example while the situation manifests itself in large corporates as well as for senior professionals.

Normally multiple skill sets and ability to serve in multiple domains is a competency valued in some small companies, start ups etc. Mature companies normally have separate positions for various specialities and would prefer to call people who seem to be focussed in any identified relevant work are rather than people who are all over the place.

Why are you not able to convert an interview call, if some how you are able to land up an  interview call?

If you are able to land up an interview call , this may be the result of:

Case A: An actual need of such an experience by some employer.

If you are unable to convert a call in this scenario, it may have a bearing on your suitability as perceived by the employer.

Case B: Prospective employers just want to check you out, your experiences and see if you some value for them.

If you are unable to convert a call in this scenario, you need not worry. They were just having a nice discussion, and were not looking at you with much seriousness.

Companies may appreciate an applicant for a HR Position – well experienced in HR with an added exposure to Finance, however they may not appreciate a person who states that he is good at both HR & Finance and may fit into any role. As you keep moving forward –  work areas and specialities keep on getting narrowed. At middle levels & Senior levels – expectations from an HR Position , an Admin position and an HR & Admin position is different. You have to judge based on your experience if you would want to pitch for the HR position, or the Admin position or the HR & Admin position.

Similarly, in your present company you may have been exposed to sales, marketing, business development, client engagement, key account management – all these are separate areas of specialisation and going forward options will be available to you if you are able to identify your focus area, your strength and the speciality in which you want to develop your career.

If you have a feeling that your being multi skilled – of being “good at a lot of things” – will increase your chances at landing a job, the case may be just opposite – this actually reduces your chances to find a good job. Its unlikely that you can prove yourself capable of every thing – and even if you are able to justify your suitability for every role, its actually up to the employers to believe you and trust you. They may prefer to deal with the person who is more focussed – unless and until the search mandate looks for every thing.

Now, not many employers need people exposed in multiple domains, and if you are looking for top brands, mature companies – you better have a justification for your multiple areas of exposure, or better identify some focus. You need to identify your areas of strengths, areas in which you want to work. You need to identify work areas – based on your experience, interest, capability, career focus, etc.

We would love to hear from you on this article. Do leave your thoughts, suggestions , feedback through comments.

Note: Images from Web.

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