Focusing on the Right Skills
Recently, I have noticed a lot of people coming to me about jobs that they want to have or will be interviewing for and asking me to help them brush up on their skill sets or brainstorm ideas about what sort of qualifications that job may require to be met. During these conversations, I noticed that these individuals were quickly jumping over the base lines for the skills required and jumping right into “What could be the most extreme thing they need me to know?!”
I am not a recruiter or human resources agent, but I have had my fair share of jobs, and I have had probably thousands of interviews in my life. It may seem easy to forget the basic skills that can still impress, so I wanted to share with you those qualities that people need to remember, that they probably have let slip from their minds.
This one is always forgotten. Demonstrating the times in previous jobs, schools, etc. that you excelled in communication is extremely important. Something that is commonly lost or goes largely unused in today’s job markets is a steady, confident stream of communication. Whether it is between coworkers or customers, being able to relay the information that needs to be, and to be able to understand what is being asked of you is so important. If you have great communicative abilities, do not hide those, let them shine through.
It seems an odd thing to point out in today’s society. Computer skills such as typing, use of programs like Excel/Word, being able to know how to use quick keys, 10-key typing, all of these skills are in high demand, and to be frank, they are not as common as you would think. Yes, many people have an understanding of the ins and outs on how to use a computer, but how many people do you know that can actually type without looking at 70 words per minute with zero errors? How many people do you know that would know what putting: “for * out loud”; would mean in a search engine like Google?
Many people don’t realize that they have a very marketable skill by being able to format a table correctly in Word, or by being able to properly name documents, maybe they know how to convert a Word document to a PDF just through Word itself. Not everyone has these skills, and you need to have faith in the ones that you might take for granted. Even if it seems minuscule, promote it. You might just have that one ‘hidden trait’ that an employer is looking for.
Many of us got our career start as a cashier, customer service associate, etc. These sorts of jobs are some of the best pools of quality skills that I can think of. They boost your communication talents, they push you to be flexible and attentive to your employers needs as far as scheduling and such, and they give you ample time handling money. What is more a show of trust in someone than letting them handle money? As a cashier, you have so much trust put on your shoulders from the company and your bosses. Many people need to realize that if you have had a job as a cashier, teller, errand runner, etc. you are literally holding your company’s financial future, and you are trusted with that. Why not brag about it a little bit? It shows trust, capability, math skills (when it comes to counting cash back), attention to detail, and it is a good example of your organizational skills.
If you can boast that your till at a retail job was never off by even a penny, you are amazing! If you can show that you were trusted with large amounts of money, unsupervised, at any given time and that that trust was not misplaced, then show it!
I will leave you with this, you never know what exactly a job or employer is looking for when it comes to skill sets. The requirements that are posted with jobs are obviously going to be touched on by anyone applying, so go above and beyond that. Never forget to show that you have skills in even the most mundane places, common sense is one of the biggest keys in today’s society, use it and show your marketable traits!