The word “skill” gets bandied around a lot these days. This is especially true in today’s job market, so the question is: do you know what skills you need to land the perfect job with your employer of choice?
Today’s job market looks nothing like the market of 10, 5, 2, or even 1 year ago. Needs seem to be ever-changing, and the requirements and skills that recruiters are looking for shift right along with those needs. If you’re considering a jump from your current employer, or more drastically a complete career jump, do you know what skills you’ll need? How about where to obtain those skills so you can present yourself as a complete package to those recruiters, making yourself stand out from the crowd?
These are the questions we’re looking at today. By the end of this article, you’ll have not only a better handle on what you need to know, but also how to go about gaining that knowledge. Ready? Cool, let’s dive in!
Research: Start by Laying a Solid Foundation for Your Skill Building
Let us start by asking you a different question—do you have a clear understanding of what your ideal job looks like? If you’re like most of us, the answer is going to start with a “yeah, of course” and quickly end up somewhere near, “no, not really.” Never fear, this just gives you a great place to jump in. Your starting point is going to be job boards for the simple reason that they’re the single best place we know of to research positions, titles, skills requirements, AND companies all in one stop.
Start with job descriptions for your current title, making note of the skills they’re looking for. Take plenty of notes, as this is what will form the foundation in that subheading up there. Before you can make a jump to a new job, it’s crucial to know where you’re starting from.
Then move on to some job titles you’ve been eyeing. Look for the overlap in skills, hard and soft. Highlight or star these items in your notes.
Now take those highlighted items and search for other jobs whose descriptions use the same wording. Note down the titles and additional skills these positions require.
And finally, combine all that with a handful of the companies who are looking for those skills and those positions. What you have now is an outline document for your skills building project, complete with the job title you’re targeting for extra inspiration.
Bootcamps and Certification MOOCs: Invest in Your Future
Now it’s time to settle in with your favorite search engine and start looking for training options. Trust us, this search won’t take long. The market for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), bootcamps, and certification training programs has erupted in recent years. No matter what sector of which industry you’re targeting, you’ll find plenty of choices. And the best part is that some of them start at a price of FREE.
Some job platforms include academies for their members, sometimes at the free membership level, sometimes you have to scale up to a premium member to take full advantage. The bonus to training right on the same platform you’re using to find a job is that the classes are tailored to the skills recruiters say they want and the results often get forwarded right to these same recruiters.
Certification courses and bootcamps that offer a cert upon completion come with the advantage of a universally recognized certificate of accomplishment. This tells recruiters right off the bat that you’ve got the skills necessary. Other bootcamps will often finish with a final project that you can use to begin building your new portfolio, doubling their usefulness and giving you a leg up in proving that you’ve got what they want.
Today’s job market leans heavily on soft skills as a determining factor, however, that doesn’t’ mean you can disregard the hard skills. This holds especially true for career jumpers as you won’t have the work experience to fall back on to show what you know. Grab some certifications, complete some bootcamp projects, and wrangle up some glowing recommendations from the teachers or classmates to get your new job hunt started right.
Have Fun With It: The Power of Gamified Recruiting Platforms
We touched on the power of gamified recruiting platforms a moment ago, but they bear a deeper look. These platforms (like here on Jobful) offer a way for you to not only locate your dream job at your ideal employer, you also get a chance to make yourself stand out from the crowd. This is accomplished with badges offered for completion of challenges, academies, and more.
Challenges are posted by the companies looking for new talent and the results go straight back to their recruiters. Show ‘em what you got and you might find a message in your inbox from someone at that perfect company asking for an interview!
Academies take it one step farther by offering a chance to learn a bootcamp’s worth of knowledge by playing some online games and answering some questions when you’re done. Not only are these academies a great deal of fun, you’re assured that the skills you’re acquiring are those being looked for since the academies are sponsored by those very companies.
Hard or Soft: It’s the Skills That Matter
While you’re in research mode, it will pay off to read up on topics like emotional intelligence (EQ) and workplace empathy. These are currently buzzwords in the corporate world, and for good reason. It’s been shown over and over again that the higher the EQ, the better the employee. Think of this as the soft skills equivalent to IQ in that it tells employers how well you’ll work on a team, how much initiative you’re likely to show under pressure, and how empathetic you’ll be to your coworkers.
It’s the combination of these soft skills with the hard skills you gain when in bootcamp mode that will present you as a complete package to the recruiters you’re looking to impress. And impress them you will, given how much work it will be obvious you put into this search, gaining appropriate knowledge, and finding the right company to put it all to work for.