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Identify Your Key Skills - How to Develop a Powerful New Job Search Language

Identify your key skills, is first in a series of 7 posts relating to the fundamental steps every job seeker must take in order to prepare for a successful job search.

I have taught job seeking skills for nearly 30 years at career schools and colleges, and at public and private agencies with exceptional outcomes in gainful employment.  Certainly there are many methods that enable people to secure employment, but regardless of what combination of methods used, these 7 fundamental steps will create the solid foundation you will need to mount a successful job search strategy.

This series is based on the works of the late Michael Farr, arguably the founder of the self-directed job search movement, and my work with literally thousands of career-oriented job seekers.

First Building Block:  Identify Your Key Skills

Interviewing hundreds of employers, they found that most people did not present the skills they had to do the jobs they sought.  Job applicants could not, for example, answer the basic question “Why should I hire you” with any ease.

So, if you want to do well at interviews, it is essential that you be able to describe what you are good at and why you think you can do the job.  This same knowledge is important in deciding what type of job you will enjoy and do well.  For these reasons, I consider identifying your skills the absolute first step in a successful career plan or job search.

Also, being able to identify your key skills will enable you to begin writing effective cover letters, resumes, and social media profiles

Three Types of Skills

There are three types of skills:  self-management, transferable and job-related.  Unfortunately, most people think only of job-related when preparing for their job search, but it’s actually the other two that will most likely convince an employer to hire you.

Self-Management Skills describe your basic personality and your ability to adapt to new environments and situations.  They are among the most important skills to emphasize in interviews, yet most job seekers don’t realize the importance of these skills and fail to mention them.

Key Self-Management Skills include:  accepting supervision, getting along with co-workers, getting things done on time, having good attendance, being a hard worker, being honest, productive and punctual.

Transferable Skills are those skills that can be transferred from one job or career to another.  These are important skills to identify because they can “prove” the much sought after “experience” most employers seek in a viable candidate for a job.  Remember to identify school-to-job, hobby-to-job, and volunteer work-to-job transferable skills as well as job-to-job transferable skills.

Key Transferable Skills include:  computer skills, being able to instruct others, negotiating, managing money and budgeting, managing people, meeting deadlines, meeting the public, organizing and managing projects, public speaking and written communication.

Job-Related Skills are those that, obviously, are needed to be carried out in a particular job or career.  However, before you select your job-related skills to emphasize, you MUST have a clear idea of the jobs you want.  That will be the topic of my next post.  Look for it!

But for now, your task is to carry out a Key Skills Inventory of your 5 top self-management, transferable and job-related skills.

Have great success!

Lee Gamelin

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