Some MuchSkills users must be wondering why we ask them to list their ‘job focus’ instead of ‘job title’. I’ve also been asked to define what we mean by ‘job focus’ by some of you, so I thought it might be good to explain what we mean by the concept here.
We wanted a term that helped us convey two things about ourselves to others:
The term ‘job title’ didn’t work for us for two reasons. One, it doesn’t tell us much about the skills people actually use during their work or about a person’s interest in deploying those skills. Two, we felt job titles were a throwback to an old order where titles were used as currency, indicating a person’s status in the hierarchy, and we believe modern egalitarian and collaborative workplaces don’t really need such hierarchies.
That inspired us to coin the term ‘job focus’.
At MuchSkills, we’d like to define ‘job focus’ as: “The value we bring to our colleagues and workplaces that is connected to our personal interests, values and competences.”
To record your ‘job focus’ on MuchSkills, you must answer these two simple questions: What is it that I’m good at? What is it that energizes me?
Let’s use my ‘job focus’ as an example.
It reads: Digital Strategy > Business Strategy > Digital Transformation > User Experience Design > UI Design > Storytelling > Design Thinking > Sales.
These skills are arranged in order of importance – from top to bottom. The MuchSkills interface allows you to do this by increasing or decreasing the sizes of each bubble.
On the other hand, my job title is: Digital Product Designer. This title doesn’t tell you that there are so many other skills I am proficient in and enjoy working with.
It’s the same story with so many other job titles.
Do remember that the emphasis of ‘job focus’ is on both “proficiency” and “interest”. If you are good at a particular skill, but aren’t really keen on using it now or in the future, you shouldn’t list it under ‘job focus’.
Before I entered the world of Digital Product Design, for instance, I was a copywriter and happened to be a good one too. Today if I ask myself what I am proficient in, one of the answers will be ‘copywriting’. But copywriting isn’t what interests or energises me today. It is not something I want to work with in the future. So I do not list it under ‘job focus’.
The secret to staying engaged at work
In my opinion, ‘job focus’ tells people – whether colleagues or hiring managers – way more about us and our capabilities than a CV or ‘job title’ can.
We believe this is important knowledge for hiring managers or team managers because when employees put their ‘job focus’ out there so that everyone can see the strengths they enjoy using at work, employers can use that information to match them with the right projects.
Why is this important?
Three words: Increased employee performance.
A 2014 study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology validated the association between the use of an individual’s strengths and work performance. “…[E]ncouraging strengths identification, use, and development in human management practices can be an excellent way to promote work performance, thereby stimulating passion, vitality, and concentration at work,” the study concluded.
Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report published in 2017 also found that workers want roles and employers that allow them to make the most of their strengths. “Employees do their best in roles that enable them to integrate their talent (the natural capacity for excellence), skills (what they can do) and knowledge (what they know),” it said.
That’s not all.
The ‘job focus’ concept acknowledges that skills and interests change over time. There may be times when you upskill or find you are interested in developing an existing or new skill. The MuchSkills ‘job focus’ tab allows you to capture that by enabling you to increase or decrease the size of the bubble with that particular skill. All this is instantly visible to colleagues, managers and even recruiters (if you make your profile public).
So go ahead and list your ‘job focus’ now.
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