Friday, January 22, 2021

Resume and Cover Letter Prep

 Resume and Cover Letter Prep

“I don’t have the skill set required for this job” or “I have no experience” are common misconceptions students will often say when they come across a job posting that they are really interested in. However, due to the countless mix of requirements and demands from the job description to have the “right” qualifications, this often deviates students from even trying to pursue the opportunity. However, what students fail to recognize is that they often do not need the necessary experience to apply for their desired opportunity, as some of these postings are guidelines from the organization and are no doubt fastened rules. Instead, students need to consider their skills set(s).

What are Skills sets?

Skills sets are an assortment of abilities and competencies that individuals may acquire from a variety of experiences and industries. These skill sets can be a result of one’s personality, interests, desires, or natural abilities. Having a diverse skill set can help students obtain many opportunities, expand their professional ability, and enhance their on-the-job performance.

There are many types of abilities that can make up a set of skills. These include hard, soft and transferable skills. However, identifying these relevant skills can be tough, so this blog aims to help students use and translate their transferable skills onto a resume or cover letter for success.

Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are skills that can work in multiple environments, as they are helpful in all sorts of work and areas of specialization. Some of these skills include communication skills, problem solving skills, teamwork skills, organizational skills, leadership skills, etc. All these skills and more, are important as they are core and basic requirements needed for any job and highlight potential abilities to companies. In addition, transferable skills are the steppingstones for success, since they build off of skills students already know. Learning to improve on them are essential for career progression.

How to Identify and Translate your Skills?

1. The first step in learning how to identify and translate your skills, is to read the job description thoroughly and to reflect on it. This is very important for research as it highlights key information pieces that can be included in your resume and cover letter. In addition, it provides you with the values of the company, that can help you determine if the company or organization is right for you.

2. The second step is to zero in on the hard and soft skills identified in the job description. Hard skills are abilities that are needed for specific fields or industries and are measurable. These include technical skills, laboratory skills, project managements skills and more. Whereas soft skills are abilities that are often innate and are non-technical. These include stress management, teamwork, decision-making skills and more.

3. The third step is to assess your own skills. This includes listing what you believe are good at, by reviewing former and present experiences and the particular skills gained from them. One helpful tip is to list your skills and experiences underneath creative headings pertaining to the job description. This is important as self-assessments will provide you with a sense of direction for writing a successful resume and cover letter. 

4. The fourth step is step create a comparison chart (t-chart) to help organize the list of your skills and the job description. This will ensure that information presented in your documents are tailored to the specific job and highlights your special qualities.

5. Lastly, it is important to create some next steps for future job interests. This includes identifying any weaknesses or skills that you may not have and plan to improve and upgrade them. This can be done by gaining more relevant experiences and educating yourself, as it is important for career progression.

**Remember to not let a few “missing” qualifications stop you from applying to a job you love and have! 

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Written by: Yaa Asare