In the last issue, we talked about preparing for your job hunt. In this issue, we are going to go talk about identifying your skills so you can get the job you really want.

As we touched on briefly in the last issue, when applying for a job it’s important that you take time to identify your strengths and weaknesses so that you can market yourself effectively. Being able to articulate your abilities and expertise can put way ahead of your competition.

Many people have a hard time talking about their skills and an even harder time putting them down on paper because they feel like they are bragging, which is something most of us are taught not to do from a very young age.

However, when it comes to getting a job you can’t be shy or afraid to discuss your skills and abilities. In fact, it’s important that you convey to your potential employer exactly what tasks you are capable of. You have to sell yourself. It’s the best way to stand out from other applicants and get the job that you want

On the other hand, it’s just as important not to sell yourself short, come across as arrogant or appear condescending. Write your resume in a way that highlights your skills and talents. Have an appropriate answer prepared in advance for tough questions like; what are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What separates you from the other applicants?

There are two main types of skills, hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are tangible in the sense that they are things that you can do like: knowing how to operate different kinds of machinery, knowledge of a specialized computer program, ability to type fast, skills on using many types of tools, credentials regarding special crafts, etc.

While soft skills are more abstract in nature like your personal talents and abilities. This may include being a good team player, having the ability to work on your own, being enthusiastic, organized or decisive.

When it comes to evaluating your skills start by making a list of your previous jobs and the experience, you acquired while you were employed with them. For some this will be a long list. Be careful enough not to forget even the smallest task or activity. You never know what an employer may find valuable. It’s also a good idea to list your volunteer activities too.

Although it might sound silly, make a list of all your hobbies as well. While most companies don’t want to see your hobbies listed on your resume if you have one that relates to the company, it’s a good idea to include it. For example, if you were part of the school’s debate team, then your employer may deduce that you have good analytical skills. If you were a champion chess player, then your employer will have the impression that you are good at making critical decisions.

Think about your daily routine and the things that you do that are often taken for granted. Are you an organized person who always keeps your things in proper order? Are you an extrovert that can easily make friends instantly? These may seem like ordinary things to you, but a potential employer might think otherwise.

It’s important to know your skills when you are job hunting so that you can always put your best foot forward. Always take time to consider if your skills are relevant to the job that you are applying for and remember to tailor your resume to meet the needs of the position you want.

Make sure you look for your next issue soon. We will be talking about simple ways to improve your interviewing skills.

Until then,

Mildred

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