If you’re going to rock the job market and get interviews, then you have to be strategic about the skills to put on your resume.
The goal is to hit the sweet spot of alignment between what you want and what employers want.
Align Your Skills with Employers’ Needs
I talked with several career coaches.
Most of them suggested starting with what you want and then matching your desires to the market.
Others like to reverse engineer the process. They look at what the market wants and help their clients figure out how they match it.
The key to accelerating your job search is to make alignment a top priority. Don’t waste valuable time on an untargeted search, trying to sell skills the market doesn’t want.
How to Identify Skills to Put on Your Resume
1. Daily Life
Carlota Zimmerman, a NYC coach, asks her clients to walk through a day in their lives and write down the skills they use.
She says the results are staggering.
2. Major Life Decisions
Marilyn Santiesteban from Texas A&M has people walk her through their career choices. She asks questions such as:
- Did an early experience influence your career choice? What was it?
- How do your values impact your career choice?
- How did you choose your major?
3. Big Successes
Susan Peppercorn, a Boston career coach, has her clients analyze their accomplishments.
She shared an example of a client who helped a university implement a new budgeting process.
By looking at the situation, the actions her client took, and the outcome, they identified many skills, including:
- Ability to persist
4. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Donna Schilder, a Los Angeles career coach, uses the MBTI.
It’s an instrument originally developed to help people understand personal preferences and use them to make good career choices.
Here’s an introduction:
5. DiSC Profile
Camille Carboneau Roberts, a federal career consultant, has her clients complete a DiSC profile. The results build awareness about personal style and related skills.
This tells you more:
Shahrzad Arasteh, a Baltimore career coach, uses SkillScan to help her clients identify their transferable skills. The company offers free (for the price of your email address) introductory videos here.
7. Focus & Refine
Phyllis Mufson, a Florida coach who works with career changers, has her clients get real. She asks people to look at their skills and identify the:
skills for their next jobs. That process informs the skills they feature in their resumes.
How to Identify the Market for Your Favorite Skills
We hear a lot about the types of skills employers want (digital, interpersonal, leadership, hard, soft, etc.).
You’ll learn several ways to find in-demand skills to include on your resume in the following paragraphs:
Joanie Connell of Flexible Work Solutions suggests using O*NET, an amazing tool developed by the U.S. Department of Labor.
You can search for jobs you want by keyword, and O*NET will return a summary that includes:
- Work styles
- Work values
This shows you how to get to the skills lists that matter to you:
9. Fellow Alumni
Chaim Shapiro from Touro College suggests using LinkedIn to find alumni from your school and program to see what they’ve been hired to do.
This gives you a great overview of the Alumni feature:
10. Job Postings
Job postings on sites such as Indeed and LinkedIn tell you about the skills employers want right now.
It’s important to realize that most people have a third set of skills — the ones they have but don’t want to use.
Don’t get caught in the trap of using skills you don’t enjoy. Your entire life can pass in this manner unless you have self-awareness and direct yourself to greater satisfaction.
Back to Skills to Put on Your Resume
Once you know what you and employers want, you will have a list of skills and other keywords to weave into all the sections of your resume.
Notice I said, “weave.”
Applicant tracking systems are now being trained to skip the bullet point lists of skills you see in many resume templates.
Research has shown that recruiters ignore them too.
With the skills to put on your resume clearly identified, you’ll be ready to rock the market and get the interviews you want.
Featured by Career Sherpa
Updated February 2021
© 2016 – 2021, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur, CNBC, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, and Business News Daily.
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