Job Skills are Critical — What are Yours?

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Sep 16

The first issue that needs to resolve in a job interview is the job skills you have matched to the position. Your job skills are fundamental to success in the new position, so you need to position yourself as competent to do the work. Yet, many people don’t know their job skills or are poor at relating the skills they have to the interview.

Let’s take a look at the seven areas of job skills you need to define and know to make sure you can prove your competence to the hiring manager.

I like to look at job skills as categories. Categories of job skills are easier to remember in the middle of an interview. Some studies have shown there are over 300 transferable job skills from job to job, but I don’t want to remember (and can’t!) 300 job skills.

Thus, I put job skills into categories. Here are my seven:

Education

Classically, this means your public education. However, the further you are away from public school years, the less the education means to the job. Here, you can also explain the job related training you have taken during your career. Significant training is education as well. Then using your training in a position is a great method of showing willingness to learn as well as competence in the position.

Certifications

Certifications, especially in some technical positions, are critical to show competence in the job skill area. Place these certifications on your resume. Tying these certifications to the work you have done then displays competence in both getting the certification and then applying it to help the business you are helping.

Awards

Most companies provide awards of recognition to their employees. Awards are job skills because they show that you went above and beyond to get the award. It isn’t like you are out to win awards. Instead, awards show skill in your work and performance at a level above average. Explaining the work you did that justified the award shows your competence in the job.

Teamwork

Everyone talks about teamwork – no one explains the skills. Teamwork skills are these: delivering your work for the team on time so your team can count on you. Emotional maturity to handle useful conflict within the team to find the best solution to a problem. Translating work requirements between different people on the team so work completes. Managing a team to a successful completion of a project.

When asked about teamwork in interviews (or on performance reviews), people always respond with how they are willing to help out others. That’s nonsense. Go for the teamwork skills and distinguish yourself in your work.

Management

Individual contributors have management skills. Whether it is managing a special team, project, or our workload, management skills are a critical differentiator of individual contributors. Managers don’t (usually) want to be watching over your shoulder to do the work. Teams want competent people to lead their team on a project.  Management skills by individual contributors are a fruitful area to distinguish you from others.

Productivity

Many job descriptions call for knowing everything there is to know about some tool (most common are Microsoft Office applications). Those are important, of course. So is the skill of completing tasks quickly and with quality. Knowing how you can be most productive and then showing it through these skills will help your cause.

Analysis

This is true: there is not enough analysis done with the volumes of information we are receiving at work today. If you have critical thinking ability about your work, processes at work, and workflow, you have an advantage compared with others who simply do the work. If you have examples of where you used critical thinking to analyze what is going on around you and can show that in an interview, you will have a significant advantage.

By listing skills in these categories, you give yourself the ability to listen to a subject by the hiring manager, decide which category of skills the manager is examining, and then stating your skill. By giving examples of where you have used skills in your work, you will rock.

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.

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