One of our well worn mantras at the Careers Service is ‘When applying for a job it is really important to be aware of all your skills and demonstrate these well with clear evidence’.
Once identified, these skills can be used on a CV, in an application form, at an interview or assessment centre or on a website page or LinkedIn profile.
Recruiters want you to be familiar with the terminology they use. Instead of just talking generally use key headings recruiters can relate to.
Key skills like communication and team work are without doubt needed by all employers and are easy for everyone to provide examples for. But consider more unusual skills like creative thinking, opportunity analysis or project management. Again not all jobs will require these but it is worth looking at these more ‘unusual’ key skills and working out how to provide examples.
Take creative thinking for example, look back at a project you were involved in, think about how you found a solution to the task being asked. Did you discover a more unusual or inventive way of doing it? Did you try something new that didn’t succeed first time round and had to be modified? Recruiters are likely to be interested in how you didn’t give up but made modifications. Modification is not seen a sign of weakness if you can show an ability to analyse, take responsibility and change course as needed.
For opportunity analysis consider a time when you promoted a product or service? Or selected a good idea from a range put forward. An example might be planning an event for a student society or working in a bar or restaurant. How did you analyse the benefits and impact on others and the environment ? How did you work out any possible risks ? Again what happened in the end. Was it successful and did you modify your plans?
With project management you could look at how you broke down a task into a series of smaller tasks. Did you consider how to put your plans into practice and achieve what you set out to do? How did you manage the time with competing demands? Did you meet the deadline? How did you evaluate success? Did you conduct any market research at any stage? If it was a group project what was the strategy i.e. how and when did you and the others accomplish what was needed?
A common way not pass an interview is to find yourself waffling and so not saying very much of importance and not being specific enough. Preparing good clear examples of key skills beforehand can really help focus your ideas. Don’t say things in a rehearsed ‘parrot fashion’ way but preparation can help in those moments when you are put on the spot.
There is a lot more on developing and acknowledging skills on the university of Brighton Careers Service website.