In order to find their dream jobs, job seekers must be ideal candidates. No one is perfect, but it is possible to improve the perception recruiters and hiring managers have by tailoring your resume to the job. One aspect of this is to bridge any gaps between your own skill set and those of the perfect candidate.
7 Tips to Identify and Bridge Skills Gaps
1. Educate Yourself
Educate yourself on the job market. Many industries are currently facing a skills gap. Do not assume that you will not get a job simply because you have 9 of the 10 required skills the company is seeking in candidates. Their perfect candidate might be a unicorn. Do not arbitrarily apply to jobs that you clearly are not qualified for either, it could be perceived poorly.
2. Identify Any Gaps
Early in the job search process, job seekers should determine gaps in their experience and skill sets by reviewing requirements in job posts for their ideal opportunities and through self-reflection. Each job is different, but it will provide a general idea of any gaps that are there.
3. Determine the Size and Importance of Gaps
When reviewing job posts, pay attention to the details. What is actually a requirement and what is preferred? Did the company quantify what are they looking for? Compare these details to your own background. This can help you determine whether these are realistic roles with your current skills and work history.
4. Review Your Background (Again)
Take another look at your past experience. Do you have any transferable skills? How about internship or volunteer work that is applicable? While it might not be ideal, you may be able to present your experience in a way that meets the company’s need.
5. Research Solutions
Look for ways you can fill gaps while working and/or looking for your next job opportunity. This can be done by volunteering, taking a temporary work assignment, enrolling in classes or earning a certification. In fact, online classes can provide an economical (sometimes free) way to gain valuable skills in your spare time. Incorporate these new experiences and accomplishments into your resume and professional profiles.
Unfortunately, some gaps – such as a need for a particular degree or a specific type or work experience – may be more difficult to fill than others. Since it will require a greater investment, (whether time, money or both) it may be best to take a more long-term approach in these instances. Assess the situation, determine all the steps needed, and create a plan of action.
6. Call Out Your Soft Skills
Make sure to highlight soft skills on your resume – such as your ability to adapt to new environments and learn quickly – to help the recruiter or hiring manager see your potential. Try to weave in stories that demonstrate this during an interview. If possible, get your references to back you up as well.
7. Be Truthful
Do not lie on your resume, social profiles or at any point during the hiring process. Even if it isn’t immediately discovered, misrepresentations of your skills and experiences could come to light in time. Even if you are a quick learner and are performing well, it will show that you lack integrity and you will likely get let go. It’s better to be honest from the beginning.
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