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As the job market begins to return back to business as usual, employers are beginning to reevaluate what skills employees should have before they enter the workplace. From new technology, to better communication skills and time management, the office has become vastly different since the start of 2020.
While many people are in between jobs or even still looking for their first, here are some of the skills and qualities that will put your resume at the top of the pile and make you a standout candidate for the job.
Update your resume
Your resume is a living, breathing document that should be updated every few months or so. For those who have worked through this difficult time, there may be different skills and lessons you’ve learned that can be valuable for your next position so adding them to your resume should be your first step.
For example, if you advanced your proficiency in virtual conference applications and other forms of online collaboration programs, those skills could be very useful, especially for positions that are still mostly remote.
Communication, leadership and collaboration is a vital part of every job, no matter what your work environment may be. With many companies still mostly remote, one of the biggest qualities’ employers look for when looking for new hires is proficiency with online collaboration tools and applications such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout, Slack, etc.
According to Mike DePrisco, the vice president of the Project Management Institute (PMI), who was featured in an article from Tech Republic, “Prove your proficiency with collaborative tools. It is no longer enough to mention them by name in a “skills” section. Specific examples of how you applied these tools in your work experiences to complete a project, lead a team or achieve an outcome is more important.”
One of the things you should mention in your cover letter when you start applying for new roles is a time when you persevered and accomplished a goal. Employers like to see how candidates problem-solve and work around obstacles to reach success.
One example can be how you’ve been working through a national health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. From technical difficulties while working remote, to returning back into your workplace and wanting to keep your family safe, there are many obstacles employees have had to navigate and problem-solve this year.
Problem solving is one of the key qualities’ employers look for because it shows how you adapt in unexpected situations and how you work around them. If you can navigate through a developing situation, you can be a valuable asset to any company in your field, especially as the future of the workplace environment is still uncertain.
If you’ve been working from home for most of the year and the role you want to apply for is still remote, good time management skills are very beneficial in today’s workforce. If you mention in your cover letter how you persevered switching from the office to the remote workplace, talk about how you manage your time at home and how you discipline yourself to stay on task throughout the week.
Good techniques can include setting various types of goals for yourself. To stay on track with your goals you can set daily, weekly, monthly, and long term and reminders to keep you on schedule.
Explain how your methods have been successful for you and how you’ve modified and changed your methods to fit the situation at hand. This also shows trial and error by sharing something that didn’t go exactly as planned and how you were able to work around it to get the job done.
Highlight and emphasize your past performances and achievements
Another quality that employer’s like to see is work methods that have shown results. This can either be listed on your resume or mentioned in your cover letter, but just remember that recruiters only spend a few seconds scanning a candidate’s resume. Make sure to be as concise as possible and then go into further detail on your cover letter on why you’re qualified for the position.
Your wording can also make or break how recruiters perceive your accomplishments. According to Ken Underhill, a master instructor at Cyrbrary, who was also featured in the Tech Republic article, “For example, instead of “’managed a team of six’ on your resume, try “’led a team of six that helped increase gross revenue by 13% within the first 12 months of my leadership.’”
You want to highlight your experiences by showing how you increased productivity and what you did to benefit the company. By emphasizing how you’ve achieved these goals and provide statistics, it provides proof of your success and gives recruiters a look into your records and how you got there. Changing around the wording of some of your experiences and skills can be more appealing to different types of recruiters and possibly increase your chances of landing an interview.
The world is constantly changing and there will always be new qualities employers will look for, but the most important thing you can do is keep up with your research and job listings to see if you need to work on anything before hitting that apply button.
No one is perfect, and will have all the skills and experience that recruiters want. It’s all about pinpointing the qualities that you believe make you as valuable candidate and learning the skills that could make you stand out even more.
November 3, 2020