So many job seekers get caught up using the "official" job title their last employer gave them. In doing that, the job seeker either has presented themselves as something un-needed, or they confuse the people they are talking to.
Marketing yourself is critical to the success of your job search campaign. Therefore, understanding what your function is in different companies has to be discovered and understood.
In case you haven't noticed, companies have been forced to redesign themselves given the recent changes in the economic climate. Companies have laid off thousands of people who's roles were non-essential to the business. What happens when these companies find themselves on sturdier ground? They will want to hire. The hiring they do will not be direct replacement of those they let go. These companies probably have decided to operate leaner and meaner, which means they will be looking to hire people who can perform multiple functions and wear multiple hats.
So what that means is that your old job doesn't exist any longer. It has been combined with other functions. You've seen the job postings that ask for everything, including the ability to fix the kitchen sink. Someone who is multi-functional offers greater hiring value to the company. This doesn't mean you have to have everything the companies are looking for, it does, however, mean that you need to understand what their problems are so you can pitch solutions they will see as valuable.
No two companies have the same set of challenges. Doing your research of target companies allows you to understand their issues and challenges and create the mix of solutions they are seeking.
This research can be started on-line, however, there is no magic database that lists the information you are seeking. Only through networking can you find the answers.
You will also need to know if your function exists in other companies and organizations. You can ask "What do they call this set of functions at your company?" What you will uncover is that many of your functions exist outside of your past industry. Pursuing jobs in other industries allows you to cast a wider net. Casting a wider net can increase your chances of landing a job faster.
You may find that without the industry experience, it can be difficult to cross into new areas. What can you do to gain that industry experience? Volunteer? Join a professional organization? You may decide that there are some barriers that make it too difficult right now to overcome. This is good to know. Now you can move on to other options.
This process is helpful because it allows you to grow and expand your flexibility and knowledge. No one can do this for you. It is kind of like, trial and error. You'll learn by knowing what you don't have. This vital gap analysis can lead you to make new decisions regarding your future.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.