There's a famous line from the 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke that says: "What we've got here is a failure to communicate." Fast forward to 2018 and that line could apply to the disconnect between jobseekers and employers. Jobseekers often put a lot of time and effort into their resumes, extensively noting skills acquired via work experience and education. And then employers turn around and say that the docs don't contain the information they want to see.
LiveCareer's 2018 Skills Gap Report examined this problem from a number of different angles. While employers list an average of 21.8 skills per job ad, jobseeker resumes list an average of only 13 skills. Specifically, resumes only match 59 percent of hard skills and 62 percent of soft skills listed in job ads. In addition, a LinkedIn survey found that 57 percent of business leaders report they believe soft skills are more important than hard skills. The LiveCareer report finds that even technology jobs require crucial soft skills, with software development positions requiring eight soft skills, more than the overall mean.
The LiveCareer report also found that the skills often listed in job ads – but omitted on resumes – include a positive attitude, retail industry knowledge, teamwork, physical abilities, and multitasking. Instead, resume writers are listing skills that are not being profiled in job ads, such as being a team player, budgeting, being able to use Microsoft Word, and time management skills.
Here's a critical piece of advice: The skills listed in your resume must align with the skills listed in the job ad. Think you'll need help building out skills in your resume? Consider putting a free resume builder to work, and get a top-notch resume in no time at all.
Another disconnect between employers and jobseekers is that if applicants don't match the word choice in an employer ad, automatic tracking systems (ATS) may reject them. For example, if a job ad lists "teamwork," then the jobseeker could get tossed for using "team player" in their resume, the report finds.
Soft Skills to Acquire
You need to demonstrate the skills acquired that show your ability to listen, speak, and write well. Try to list something specific, such as "matched 23 mentor-mentee pairs" in a staff program, which led to reduced turnover." Or, note how you're a master of setting up video conference calls across various time zones with multiple colleagues.
Companies are always interested in hiring individuals who don't need a lot of hand-holding. They want to see those who have demonstrated an ability to direct projects through from beginning to end, can overcome obstacles, or are able to coach or mentor others.
More and more companies need employees who can work with people both inside and outside the company. Have you built business accounts with outside clients? Paved the way for cross-collaboration with other teams? Pitched in to help another department get a project done? Building rapport with others and working together towards key initiatives, as well as on crucial projects, is a key skill.
This may include things like multitasking and problem solving. Employers want to know the skills acquired that show you're able to meet deadlines and keep various projects on track. Try to be specific: You completed a project on time and 15 percent below budget, or you handled patient intake while upgrading the filing system and training a new worker.
Another disconnect between employers and jobseekers is that if applicants don't match the word choice in an employer ad, automatic tracking systems (ATS) may reject them.
The other applicant abilities that employers are looking for are hard skills. Such skills are centered around training, education, and experience. An employer might be looking for hard skills such as certification, a college degree, research experience, or machine operation experience.
Hard Skills to Acquire
LinkedIn reports that tech skills continue to dominate the wish list of employers in 2018, including mobile development skills, network and information security skills, and cloud computing skills. Do not put "proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite" or "proficient in Microsoft Word" on your resume – everyone is presumed to be this computer literate at this point; it will look like you're padding your resume if you add these skills. However, an ability to build a spreadsheet in Excel, or export PowerPoint slides into video format can show you're able to go beyond basic computer skills.
Many companies are focused on digital transformation and learning to use their data in ways that help them attract or retain customers. If you've shown an ability to spot customer trends through Google Analytics, employers will be interested. Or, your ability to research multiple markets to provide a report on where to tap into cheaper manufacturing costs will stand out.
Foreign language skills
From hospitality to the medical field to finance, those with an ability to speak more than one language are in demand. If you're interested in fast-tracking your skills in a foreign language, check out this article.
Social media skills
"Jobseekers who have developed robust online personal brands using social media and content marketing have a clear advantage over candidates that have limited experience with social marketing," says Robin Colner, CEO of DigiStar Media. If you helped set up a community or business Facebook page, or established a popular Instagram account (as long as it's professionally appropriate), you can show that off to an employer.
When working on your resume, always ask yourself if you're really communicating both your hard and soft skills to an employer. Make sure you are using the exact same language as the job ad when describing your skills, and be specific about how you're the best fit for the job. If you focus on clearly communicating these things, you'll find greater success in grabbing an employer's attention.