Some would say that a big shift in today’s job market is that it’s skills oriented. I would disagree. An employee’s skill set has always been important. What has changed is two things. First, many companies do not want to invest in training employees to develop their skill set in house. This means that job seekers must have a higher skill set upfront in order to be considered for certain roles. Second, companies are becoming more comfortable with having employees work remotely or from home. This means that organizations are not necessarily confined to the geographic area it operates in to find qualified job candidates. It’s for this and other reasons that you need to be able to highlight what skills you have to hiring managers. This is part of your resume preparation.
As a reminder: Knowledge + Ability + Confidence = Skill.
The confidence comes from knowing what you’re doing, and the ease in which you can do a thing. Part of the resume preparation you’ll be doing involves ranking your skills, from student through craftsman. Keep in mind that placing your skills at a certain level shouldn’t make you feel shame or guilt. Being a student is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s about knowing where you are, and where you want to go next, career-wise. For example, someone is currently in an entry level position and wants to move into a manager role. If they know what skills and behaviors are expected at that level they can figure out what additional resources may be needed in order to reach that goal.
Over the course of your lifetime, you learn a series of personal/life skills. You develop organizational ones as well. During that time frame there’s a predictable journey in terms of how you pick up skills. In the beginning of your career you’re learning a lot of new ones, usually what’s considered “hard” or technical skills. Examples include: learning how to use the company equipment; understanding the job’s workflow, or producing reports. At a certain point that number peaks. It’s at that peak where most people can begin to increase their ability to pick up “soft” skills, such as teamwork, critical thinking, and conflict management.
These peaks, plateaus, and valleys are continuous, and often overlap. Also, skills evolve over time, which we’ve also discussed in an earlier part of the series.
It’s time to do some resume preparation work. Make a list of your top five technical skills, another list for your soft skills, another one for your organizational skills, and yet another for your top five life skills. All together you’re going to have 20 skills listed. Now take the 10 that you want to make improvements to. When you think you’ve got it where you want it, you may want to have a trusted friend look it over.
Another thing to understand is how your job skills may be company or industry specific. There are pros and cons to this. An advantage is that certain skills may work well in a number of different settings. The disadvantage is that your skill set may only be of value in a niche field, or may have lost value over time. This is something we discussed before when talking about researching your industry.
All of this information gets added to your data storage spreadsheet. This is how you’ll benchmark your skill set, as well as keep track of important job details. This gives you the ability to make clearer decisions on your resume preparation. Remember, job searching favors the prepared.
Read on for more ways to make your job search a success: The Basics of How to Write a Resume
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