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Focus on your strengths

by Brenda Koritko - 06/15/2017
"Taking time to discover or confirm your key strengths and skills will empower you to make important decisions about your career."
If you continue to produce letters and resumes that highlight the skills you have developed in your present position, you will continue to sell yourself to the same market. When you know your key strengths and skills you increase the number of opportunities that are available for you in a variety of sectors. Whether you are changing careers, re-entering the workforce, or looking for your first job, highlighting relevant transferable skills in you resume helps employers determine at a glance that you have qualifications for the position or positions they have available.

Your unique transferable skills are key selling points that you should market to employers. Skills are things you are good at such as organizing people or events, computer skills, the ability to sell ideas and public speaking. Accomplishments are your successes such as winning an award, completing a course or certification, or achieving top sales results. Most interests and activities involve developing key transferable skills. For example, team sports or group activities often provide an opportunity to develop career related strengths, including scheduling, group leadership, management, and event planning.

You can find lists of transferable skills that highlight people skills, communication skills, analytical skills and a few other categories. The problem with highlighting a group of general statements such as "Reliable. Willing and able to show up on time." is that they do not answer the key question every employer will ask: What does this mean to me? It is important that you always select the transferable skills that bring you closest to a company's requirements. For example, if your present position only includes limited computer responsibilities and you are interested in a position that requires extensive computer skills, highlight the skills that you have developed during leisure activities, including html even if all you have ever produced was a personal web page.

You have hundreds of skills that could be highlighted in your resume to attract the attention of a number of employers from a variety of sectors. The key to success is selecting and supporting the skills that directly respond to the specific requirements outlined by potential employers in their advertisements or position descriptions. Take time now to list five activities that give you a feeling of satisfaction. Then, list five things you are good at. Do not limit your answers to previous work experience.

Understanding your interests, skills, and attitudes will increase your confidence and help you sell your strengths to a target employer. Increased self-confidence sends a positive message to employers. Do not spend too much time trying to discover your weaknesses. If you cannot think of weaknesses that affect your ability to secure your target position - move on! Career plans built on strengths decrease the time it takes to find the right job.
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