From Awesome to Irrelevant

This week I have eight presentations while in the D.C. area.  I met a lot of professionals and executives in transition. During one presentation I met someone who really impressed me – the message I got from this person was that their skills were completely irrelevant.

When he talked about their long and successful career I knew he was awesome – he was on top of their game, he was a subject matter expert, and he was a thought leader.

This week, after having been in the job search for months, he felt completely irrelevant.

I am not saying he IS irrelevant, rather he FEELS irrelevant.

Do you feel irrelevant?  I have two thoughts for you:

1. Maybe you are. What that means is you need to get new skills, education, credentials, training, etc.  If your skills are irrelevant then you need to figure out what needs to change.  Find out what would make you relevant – this could mean a change in profession or industry or BOTH.

2. Maybe you ARE NOT. I’ve seen a lot of job seekers who start out with a decent self-esteem, and after months in the job search they have been reduced to nothing.  Listen to me: DO NOT let the circumstances and results in a job search, especially a failing job search, define you.

Sometimes going from employed to unemployed feels like you go from “fine” to “third class citizen.”   You will get more “NO’s” than you have gotten during your entire career… but DO NOT let this define you – you have to objectively assess your skills and really figure out if you are irrelevant or not.

Separate your skills from your esteem.


  1. Mike on September 24, 2009 at 7:22 am

    I would just add that it is important to take an inventory of your skills and determine how they cross into other industries and opportunities. Often time, those of us in the recruiting industry do an injustice to candidates by searching for people on title keywords and not necessarily the skill set needed in the opportunities we have. Make sure to understand how your skills are transferable… so you can help others do the same.

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