- Know the skills that employers most look for. The best way to learn what skills employers in your field look for is to scrutinize wants ads and Internet job postings of the employers and jobs that interest you. Refer to Chapter 3 on keywords for more about how to zero in on these skills. If you review a significant number of ads and job postings, you’ll soon realize that nearly all employers look for certain skills. Various experts have produced lists of these commonly sought skills, and all differ slightly, but you’d probably find general agreement about the following Big Five:
- Communication skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Teamwork skills
- Leadership skills
- Computer/Information technology skills
Among the first three, of course, several combinations are possible, such as interpersonal communication skills, interpersonal/teamwork skills, and so forth. A second tier of most-in-demand skills might look something like this:
- Adaptability/flexibility skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Organizational skills
- Analytical skills
- Quantitative skills
- Know how to describe and portray your skills in your job-search communications so that employers will know you have the right stuff.
Let’s first look at the career-changer’s dilemma first. I was recently asked to do a resume makeover for a woman who wanted to become an account representative (sales, in other words). I won’t tell you what field she sought to change from; see if you can guess it from this entry on her old resume about her current job:
- Utilize personal computer for word processing, spreadsheets, and graphic design including internal/external correspondence, reports, procedure manuals and presentations.
- Create and distribute a variety of queries and reports using Access.
- Process confidential employee records such as salary changes, vacation/absenteeism reports and performance appraisals, etc.
- Complete and submit invoices to process for payments.
- Schedule meetings/appointments and make travel arrangements.
- Accountable for reconciliation of expense reports.
- Develop and maintain product application guides using flowcharts.
Did you guess secretary? You’re right. Her resume screams “secretary,” not account representative.