Anyone you speak to could lead you to a job, so be ready with your job title.
When you become unemployed, even chance meetings become impromptu job interviews. New introductions usually include a “What do you do?” Friends usually ask, “How’s it going?” Please don’t throw these opportunities away. Give the other person a chance to be helpful, most people want to. But you have to help them help you. Let them know you’re unemployed and what job title you’re looking for. It should be just that short and sweet. Don’t whine and moan about how you got to this point, be upbeat. And be sure the job title makes sense and can be remembered by the other person. I found this out the hard way.
Explanations of what you want to do or how you approached your old job are wasted. I have found that people are waiting to hear that short little job title. Don’t assume that they want to hear your story or your qualifications unless of course they specifically ask for them. Don’t make them wade through your verbiage to get to the point, your job title. If you give them too much then they’ll default to what they understand the best from everything you say and it may not be what you think it should be.
Your job title is key to getting people to pay attention to you. Your job title is shorthand for everything people want to understand about you. So think carefully before you start throwing around what your job title/profession is. There could be a difference between what you were, what you were trained to be, what you are qualified for, what you want to be, and what you are willing to accept. It took quite a while for this lesson to sink in.
In my case, I’ve led an odd life doing creative jobs in many different fields around the world. They can best be summed up as high-level idea and concept development. That has left me with brilliantly good soft skills, you know, problem solving, organization, management, self motivation, decision-making, etc. Those are now worthless. They are not job titles, they are skills to be applied to your job. You can not find them listed in boldface in the newspaper and you can not put them on the same line as your name on your business card. When I told people my story, a really good one I might add, they nodded politely and then said, but what is your job title? I no longer tell people my story.
On the upside, as the unemployed, you may now play with your job title. Maybe you were ready and waiting for the next step up but you were laid off too soon. Maybe you have a wonderful hobby that has positioned you with enough experience to create a new career. Whatever the case, think carefully about what job title you decide on, it really is your choice. And of course, as you edit your resume to fit the job, feel free to edit your job title as you see fit. It’s your life you know.
I consider this one of my personal fundamentals of unemployment.