Communicating your skills ~ 3 types of skill sets to use

Tip for today

I may not put up tips for today all of the time but I was sitting here thinking after working with a client yesterday who was having a very difficult time defining skill sets that it is probably a good idea to tell people about the 3 types of skill sets to choose from and a bit about how to do that choosing…so for today:

When articulating and communicating your skills to an employer we must remember that there are 3 types of skills to consider

• Job Content
• Transferable
• Soft skills also know as Traits of behavior

First let’s focus on job content skills because they are needed for obvious reasons. Personally I am not going to hire someone that doesn’t know how to do the job so if I am looking for a web designer they need to know how to design the website. If I am going to hire an accountant I want them to know how to do my taxes and prepare my spread sheets. I hear many people say the words “It’s not what you know…it’s who you know” and to a certain extent that statement can be true, but I don’t care how well I know you, if you can’t do the job I am not going to risk my business to hire you. I will be doing a segment of communication called Networking and will talk more about the subject but for now let’s get back to skill sets.

The second set of skills I have listed is called transferable skills because you take them from one job to another. If you are good working with people it doesn’t matter where you work, you will be good with people. If you know how to work in MS office that skill goes with you and you can do your computer work. If you are great at balancing a cash drawer then any business that handles money would love to have that skill in an employee. If you are a courteous and flexible person, that is a trait that will go with you. So you can see how you can look at your transferable skill by looking at a job description and comparing skills. Transferable skills can be either job content or soft skills so look for both.

The last of skill I am going to talk about is the traits of behavior that allow you to get along in the world. They are known as soft skills and include a very long list but some of them are:

Courtesy; Honesty; Reliability; Flexibility; Team skills; Cooperation; Eye Contact; Adaptability; Follow Rules; Self-directed; Good Attitude; Accountability; Relating well to coworkers;
Positive Outlook; Motivational Skills; and Interpersonal Skills.

The list could potentially be very long so it is important to read the job description and see what they are looking for. Recently someone told me about a major bank that has a job description out for a Teller position and he says the first several items are all soft skills such as flexibility, customer service, interpersonal skills with coworkers and then comes cash handling. The reason is simple…I can teach you how to balance your cash drawer and do the tasks that are needed…but I can’t teach you to be a nice person if you are not a nice person. I didn’t see the job description so I can’t say that I actually saw it, but my source is reliable and truthful (both great soft skills) so I feel comfortable putting the information in my blog. I don’t know the name of the bank so please don’t ask because I am not going to check it out any further. I am simply making a point about the importance of getting along in the world.

So when communicating your skills remember to look at all the skills you have and then match them to the job description so you can put them on your resume and articulate them during an interview.
My best to your success…live large; live happy!

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“Loretta is a highly experienced and productive professional in the field of Workforce Development, Job Readiness, Career Counseling, Workshop Facilitation, and Job Search Preparation. I have worked with her closely for over six years, and she has consistently been a valuable, key resource in the employment community. For three of those years, she was at Napa Valley College as a resource specialist in their career center... 
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