The ultimate job skill needed to find a job today

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Job skills are the key to finding the next job in your career. The job skills alone won’t get you the job of course, since you need to answer three interview questions to get the job. But job skills get you in the door from the resume to the phone or screening interview.

Now, you might look at all those job descriptions and think the top three qualifications are what is most important. And, to a degree they are. But the most important job skill is rarely, if ever, on the job description and is the one that will make you stand out from the crowd.

The ultimate job skill is this one: A proven ability to deliver quality results to the business. Yes, the ability to execute a plan is the differentiator hiring managers look for when adding someone to their team. You can have all the certifications in the world, program in a hundred different programming languages and belong to every professional society in the world, but if you can’t deliver on your promises and move the company’s goals forward, you are not worth that much.

Show your work resulted in a business difference

When we are writing our resumes or interviewing, we calmly state our duties and responsibilities and think how important we were to the department at the time. But standard job titles imply standard job duties and responsibilities, so stating your duties and responsibilities is obvious.

What most people don’t do is relate their work to the business goals either for the company or for the department. That your work made revenue go up, costs go down, or improved productivity. Showing that your work impacted these business areas gives you a differentiator to most people interviewing today.

Show the business results using numbers

Most people blandly point out that a job responsibility of theirs is to work trouble tickets. Or produce articles for a knowledge base. Very few of them translate that into business results: Resolved an average of nine tickets per day, the number one rank in the department, and met all Service Level Agreements. Or: Created 200 feature articles for the company web site that increased website traffic by 120% in 12-months.

Numbers, for better or worse, help to define the accomplishment. But most people don’t have the numbers or don’t think they matter.

Go right now and figure out what your work is doing to support the business and how the numbers changed as a result of your work.

Show your ability to execute in even tough times

Managers care that you executed well when business was great and money was rolling in the door. But not that much. Instead, managers want to know how you handled the tough times. CEO’s don’t really care that the prospective CIO kept the budget in line during great times, but want to know how the prospective CIO handled the need to cut budgets 15% when the choices were layoffs or…what?

Tough times like these are what show your ability to work through adversity on the job. Take these times and use them to show potential employers that you can continue to execute well despite the difficult environment.

Delivery counts

If you are working right now and are not writing down (and taking home!) the results you are achieving, using the reporting numbers to show the impact of your work, you are doing yourself a big disservice when it comes to finding the next job. Yes, all the job candidates for your next job will have the top three qualifications on the job description. At the point you are doing the interviewing, none of that will matter because you are all “equal.” You are qualified to do the work.

But, did you deliver? Did you show that on your resume and in your interviews? Can you show what you did to overcome adversity? Do so and you will give yourself a great competitive advantage in getting the next job.

  • Yes, you should! If you can provide either percentages or actual amounts, that is even better. And, if you can do it so it shows good thinking behind the actions, that takes the cat’s meow. So to speak…

  • Chuck Strouse says:

    Excellent Post. I was just wondering if I should include something on my resume on how I was able to cut expenses and head count during the downturn.

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