Whether you’re preparing a resume for your first job search, or because you're trying to find a new full-time job in a tight employment market, it’s time to look at your resume in a new light. Are you highlighting all of your marketable skills? Or just presenting a list of work responsibilities? Employers don't want to know what you did as much as what you can do.
Marketable job skills may be "hidden" in those everyday tasks you performed. If you can uncover them, they can be important additions to your resume and can help you land your next job.
The first step is to identify those skills. Take a look at your resume and distinguish your duties from your skills. Duties are the activities you perform on the job, such as generating reports, helping coordinate an industry conference, providing desktop support. Skills are the tools and techniques you use to accomplish these tasks: knowledge of certain software, communication abilities, leadership.
When you list the skills and abilities that were necessary to accomplish each of your duties, don't limit yourself to full-time jobs. Also include part-time work and volunteer positions. Say you served as the president of your homeowners association. Didn’t you accumulate leadership skills, negotiation abilities and a knowledge of budgeting processes? When you look at your resume this way, chances are you'll uncover a number of talents you hadn't considered.
For example, if you've worked as an administrative assistant, your duties probably included arranging meetings, drafting correspondence and answering the phone. The skills you developed as a result most likely included strong planning skills to ensure meetings went smoothly, strong communication abilities to accurately convey your manager's messages to staff and solid customer service skills to successfully interact with internal and external clients. Don’t forget technical skills, such as typing speed, research abilities and knowledge of Microsoft Office. These are the things that employers like to know.
Here are the top 5 “hidden” job skills you’re most likely to find when you look:
- Planning: Scheduling meetings, writing letters, handling calls -- all involve planning.
- Communication: Dealing with various departments and unique personalities to get work done.
- Leadership: Stepping up and helping lead a plan to completion
- Problem-solving: Identifying the root causes of problems, and coming up with solutions
- Resource management: Getting done what you need to get done with the resources at hand
Being aware of your marketable skills will make you more competitive in the job market. Employers want people who have what it takes to perform well on the job, so make sure you make yourself stand out from other applicants. If you take the time to identify your true skills, you will realize just how valuable of an employee you are -- and employers should, too!