Tag Archives: skills assessment

Job Search Tip #3: Assess your skills

Last week we looked at assessing your work values. Now we’re going to look at assessing your skills.

When asked at the interview about your greatest strength, you’ll most likely respond by talking about one or two of the three skill types: technical, transferable, or adaptive (personality). You might address your expertise in C++, market analysis, team building, or innovation, for example.

Of course the best policy is to talk about skills that relate to the job at hand. In other words, if the company or organization is looking for someone strong in communications, customer service, and Oracle, these are the skills you’ll highlight, providing you’ve demonstrated them with accomplishments.

The same strategy applies to writing your tailored résumés and cover letters, and your LinkedIn profile. Your emphasis will be on the skills required to succeed at the position for which you’re applying.

Assessing your skills. Knowledge of your skills is not only import in succeeding at the interview or when writing effective job-search documents; you’ll highlight them when networking and sending follow-up letters, as well as preparing your elevator speech. It’s important that you know the difference between the three skill types and can talk to them with conviction.

Technical skills are absolutely required to do the job. Let’s say you aspire to be a marketing manager. Technical skills for this occupation include, but are not limited to:

Product Marketing

Retail Brand Management

Pricing Distribution

Account-Based Marketing

Transferable skills are universal: If you think any job can be performed with technical skills alone, you’re sadly mistaken. (You’ll notice that the list above is shorter than the subsequent lists. Your transferable skills are necessary, if not more than your technical skills. 

When thinking about your transferable skills, think about them completing the thought, I can….Here is a list of transferable skills considered important in general, but by no means is it conclusive. 

Knowledge of Basic Marketing Principles Communications Skills (Listening, Verbal, Written) Analytical
Managing Priorities Management Multicultural Sensitivity/Awareness
Collaboration Strategic Thinking Motivating Others
Problem-Solving Research Coordination
Computer/Technical Literacy Planning Reasoning
Organizing Project Management Presentation

Adaptive skills define you as a person and worker. How would you describe your work habits? What makes you a fit in the company? The answer to these questions has a great deal to do with your adaptive skills. In fact, some employers rate these as some of the most important skills, yet some jobseekers disregard them.

You might describe yourself as a team builder who consistent, fair, insightful, and others supporting personality skills. When thinking about these skills, thing about them completing the thought, I am….Here are some common adaptive skills:

Intelligent Leader Have Vision
Honest/Moral Adaptable/Flexible Tenacious
Dependable Creative Loyal
Positive Motivated/Energetic/Passionate Professional
Self-Confident Diligent A Team Player

From this limited list of transferable and adaptive skills chose the ones that best describe you and are most important to what you do, and also what the employer seeks in his/her next employee. Keep in mind that your transferable and adaptive skills play a major role in shaping you as a productive employee.

Next Friday we’ll look at revising or writing your résumé.

10,000 hours dedicated to your job search may be too much, but the time you put in will make a difference

If you think Bill Gates and the Beatles were successful because of their innate talent alone, Malcolm Gladwell offers another reason for their success, which he outlines in his book Outliers. Outliers are people who separate themselves from the “ordinary” because of their success, which is due in part because of the 10,000-hour rule. This rule asserts that the time one spends on a certain activity can often predict his/her success.

Gates, for instance, was given the opportunity to practice on personal computers at a private secondary school he attended when personal computers arrived on the scene. This was before he attended, and dropped out of, Harvard and later developed Microsoft.

The Beatles were given the opportunity to play eight hours a day in Hamburg, Germany, when they started out. Gates and the Beatles were driven and talented individuals, of course, but having logged over 10,000 hours to perfect their art made a huge difference, according to Gladwell.

What Gladwell’s 10,000-hour theory has to do with the job search is similar to the amount of time you must put into your search. In other words, your success is proportional to the hours you dedicate to it. However, you can’t dive into your job search without having a plan of attack. Your plan has to demonstrate vision with results. Here are the five most important elements of your job search:

  1. Determining your work values and assessing your skills.
  2. Revising your résumé to fit today’s résumé.
  3. Networking with a purpose.
  4. Polishing your interview techniques, both traditional and behavioral.
  5. Maintaining that positive attitude.

I hope your job search doesn’t require 10,000 hours, or 1.2 years. Forty hours a week for six months (or 960 hours) is probably more than some of you would like to spend on your search. One of the points Gladwell makes in this “must-read” book is that success doesn’t come from only raw talent; it comes from practice and hard work. Read the Outliers. There are many other stories about how people became successful, including timing and their ethnicity.