3 Ways to Showcase Your Skills in the Job Search

Ninety-three percent of employers say skills are more important than college majors in the hiring process, according to a recent Association of American Colleges and Universities survey. But are you doing all you can to sell your skills to potential employers?

“In most instances, it really isn’t about the degree,” says Texas Exes Career Services director Jennifer Duncan. “All too often, job-seekers focus on their degree, past jobs, or company names, and not enough on what employers really want to know.”

So how can you sell your skills and convince employers that you’ll bring value to the company? You’ll need to identify your transferable skills and why they matter. To start, Duncan offers three quick tips:

1. Analyze your accomplishments. Your résumé probably already includes bullet points listing your past achievements—now ask yourself what skills got you there. If you exceeded sales goals, for example, did superior organization and project management contribute to that? Maybe your fluency in a particular software program helped you save money for the company. Identify your top three skills and practice giving examples of each.

2. Ask a professional in your field. Information sessions, or informal interviews with professionals in your field, are designed to help you improve your job-search strategy. Reach out to a contact on LinkedIn or through the Texas Exes Alumni Directory and ask to get coffee. Then ask, “What skills have been most useful to you? What are managers in your field looking for?”

3. Explore LinkedIn. You may have a LinkedIn profile, but did you know about the site’s nifty skills tool? Type in the name of a skill and the site will provide stats on how common it is, whether it’s growing or shrinking, and which companies are closely related to it, among other detailed results. Most useful, Duncan says, is the capability to browse real users’ LinkedIn profiles to see how they’re describing their skills. Learn your industry’s lingo and preferences and factor that into your application.

“Recruiters are looking for examples of how you performed well in the past,” Duncan says, “as well as how you’ll apply those skills to the new position.” If you can nail that part of the interview, you’re well on your way to landing the job.

Photo by Victor1558 on Flickr.


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