Whether a job application requires typing blocks of text into an electronic form or filling out a paper application, you must evaluate how your skills match up with a particular job posting. If you put the right skills on your application, you might get an interview. If you include skills that aren't required, are irrelevant or are too cliché, the odds of earning an interview will decrease. Your application should include most or all of the required skills included in a job posting.
A common way to list your skill-set is to use action words instead of noun phrases. Consider the difference between "developed a new marketing campaign for a Fortune 500 company" and "experience developing marketing campaigns." A statement containing action words makes your skills sound more compelling. Find a list of action words on the job websites of your favorite college or university or on local, state and national workforce development websites.
21st Century Skills
Today's employers want 21st century skills. They want to hire people who can work well independently and on collaborative teams. They want people who can think critically and solve problems. Ensure that your resume includes skills that are in high demand. It's not enough to say you are good at critical thinking or problem solving. Your application must show how you have thought critically or solved problems. You could list skills in the context of a particular position or achievement; for example: "developed project management skills in the redesign of my company's website, which serves customers on three continents."
Somewhere on a job application, it's important to list the types of technology you can operate or manipulate. For a clerical job, list the types of office equipment and office productivity software programs you know how to use. For a technical job, get more specific, like explaining how you can troubleshoot problems with circuit boards, computer processors, printers or other types of hardware. For mechanical jobs, it's helpful to list the brands of machines and types of machine parts that you have experience working with.
Extensive Skills Analysis
Job seekers may fall into the trap of merely listing skills acquired through paid work. Generally, there are other types of work experience people acquire through unpaid work, including skills acquired in secondary and post-secondary education, volunteer work, membership in civic or religious organizations or other hobbies. These skills might be transferable and relevant to a future employer. If you have participated, for example, in extensive fundraising campaigns for your local church or school, list this information when applying for a development or marketing job. An eye-catching application shows a well-rounded skill set that would unquestionably add value to an employer's organization.
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