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RE: What can I do with these skills?


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Hello there @arampersaud!

First, let me say kudos to you for sharing this challenge with the NotePD community. Asking for help when looking to change careers is not easy. Good support is hard to find in the career coaching space. You can't tell from searching on the web who can successfully evaluate and identify novel career paths just from looking at your skills and experiences.

Look, I'm no expert at career coaching anyone. I have, however, changed jobs a few times over thirty-plus years since graduating college. I want to think I've learned a thing or two about taking skills from one career path and applying them in another.

Sometimes, the skills I applied would fit seamlessly into my new role.

Other times, however, I wouldn't be a good fit because my skills and experiences were mismatched with the job I took. For example, I recently quit a Fortune 500 retailer where my previous skills and experience were not a good fit for my last job.

The last thing you want to do is to choose a career path where your skills and experience are not suitable for the career path you wish to pursue.

I get the sense from your Challenge Post that you're ready to pursue a meaningful career in something, but you're just not sure what that looks like from your recent skills and job experience.

When I read your Challenge Post, the phrase that caught my attention was, how can I combine these skills in a new and exciting way? Your statement grabbed me because I get the sense, you're not using your skills and job experiences in a way that feels fresh and compelling to you.

Your statement suggests that you wish to combine what you know with where you've been in a career that you can get excited about.

That excitement of developing an emotionally engaging career path for yourself can only come from tapping into James' notion of idea sex.

What is idea sex, you may ask?

In his book Skip the Line, James defines idea sex as the ability to combine two or more different ideas that people like or love into one. People could easily assume almost every idea has been done before. However, the problem with that thinking is that people never get past opening up new possibilities by trying to mix two or more ideas that work into a new concept.

In your Challenge Post, the possibility of using idea sex with your existing skills and job experiences can help you develop a new and meaningful career path.

So, I want to help you answer the question: How can you combine these skills in a new and exciting way?

Answering this question honestly, I believe, will open the doors to new and exciting career opportunities for you.

The best way to answer this question is to have a process that creates career possibilities by using idea sex with your skills and previous jobs.

Here below are my thoughts on what the process of idea sex should look like when forging a new career path for yourself:

    1. Take an inventory of all the skills that you've acquired throughout your job history

    For example, you mentioned Writing, web development, and SEO as skills you've learned. I looked at your LinkedIn profile, and there are other essential skills you've picked up also. Some of your additional skills include blogging, copywriting, and photography. List all the skills you've picked up and are good at. Don't worry so much about whether the skill is marketable - get them all down on paper.

    2. List all the jobs you've held since graduating college.

    After inventorying all your skills, the next step is categorizing your previous job positions. Put your list of jobs next to your skills list. Don't worry about chronological order or how long you were at each job. Recording all the positions you previously held will help shape the career path you've embarked on.

    3. List all the subjects or fields of interest you enjoy learning, reading, and talking about.

    Once you've tallied your job history, the next step is to think about what you enjoy doing. This step involves writing down all the things you enjoy doing or learning about. Don't worry about how long or short the list is. Be honest about what you like to do with your free time when you're not out eating, sleeping, or enjoying time with friends and family. Passion for doing something is essential to finding a new career that you can feel excited about.

    4. List each word from every column for skills, experiences, and passions and put the words together in a separate column.

    In this column, you can call Career Idea Sex. By taking the three words from the previous columns, you'll be preparing yourself for idea sex with new careers that come from combining the words. Don't worry about what the terms look like on paper. Just focus on getting the words together in one place for review.

    Let me give you an example of what I mean by the Career Idea Sex list.

    Using the information above with what you listed on your LinkedIn profile, let's say you came up with the following words for skills, experiences, and passions:

    Skill = News Writing

    Experience = Public Relations

    Passion = Hockey

    Your final word list will look something like what I put below:

    News Writing + Public Relations + Hockey

    Don't worry about how the word equation looks. Focus on combining every word or phrase from each of the three columns. Make this list separate from the first three. Your Career Idea Sex list can be as short or as long as you like - the longer, the better for exploring new career possibilities.

    5. Use the combination of words from the Career Idea Sex column to create new careers from your skill set and experience.

    This column can be called New Careers. Think of this list as the final result of your Career Idea Sex list. Your inventory of new careers will expand as you examine each equation from the previous column. Don't worry about what the new job sounds like on paper. Just focus on getting through every line item from the Career Idea Sex column for every new career to record.

    Again, using the example above, if I think about those words combined, I come up with the following result:

    Hockey Media Relations Coordinator

    This result is just one example of many that you could come up with by combining the skills, experiences, and interests to fuel your new career paths. Do this exercise for every single equation from the Career Sex Idea column.

    6. Rank your new career ideas.

    After you've come up with your complete list of new career paths, the next step is to start winnowing down the list. Take a new sheet of paper and list all your new career ideas horizontally and vertically across an X and Y axis. Compare one new career against another and ask yourself if you prefer doing one over the over. If so, note the new career you choose and log your preference in each box.

    Make choices for each new career path you've listed. Once you've categorized all your new career ideas, list only the top ten and discard the rest.

    After creating your new careers list, you should be ready to begin the next stage of your journey: research opportunities for other career ideas. Perform a search on either Google or LinkedIn to see how many opportunities exist for every new career path you've chosen. Look up how many open jobs are available for every new career path you've come up with. You can then select the one that offers the most opportunities to grow.


    Now there may be new career ideas you develop that have no jobs available because the field is so unique. Don't get discouraged! Find a way to forge that new career by creating a portfolio of experiences about the new idea while showing value to the audience who could most benefit from your new career idea. The experience could be anything from blogging to creating carefully crafted posts on social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok.

    As you find and develop your audience around your new career path, someone will notice the quality of your work. Once discovered, make that leap into the unknown and exciting career you've dreamed about!

    I hope this helps you and wish you the best in your future career endeavors.

    Thanks for reading!

    P.S. – The image above is a Japanese term called ikigai. The word when broken down to its meaning roughly translates into the realization of what one expects and hopes for in life. You can read more about the term and how this applies to your post by following this link.

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