Many people tend to believe that they have few marketable skills, especially if they have limited work experience. You need to remember, however, that your skills come from many sources. You don't have to be paid to learn a skill. You may have developed special abilities in classes and workshops as well as through informal jobs like babysitting and yard work, volunteer work, and even hobbies.
Skills fall into three categories: technical or job-specific skills, which usually require special training or education; adaptive skills, like loyalty and punctuality, which pertain to your work style; and transferable skills, like leadership and decision making, which are applicable in many different work settings.
Transferable skills are among the characteristics employers look most closely for in potential employees. Recruiters at Ball State University have said that they are seeking candidates with good
- Leadership Skills
- Teamwork Skills
- Problem-Solving Skills
- Communication Skills
- Decision-Making Skills
- "People" Skills
As you evaluate your skills, think about examples of how you have used them. You'll need this information as you write your résumé and when you prepare for job interviews. Develop at least two or three brief stories describing how you have used each skill. Begin by analyzing an achievement you are proud of. Break it down into the component skills that you used. Use the PAR formula: include the Problem, the Action you took, and the Result. Use numbers to quantify your accomplishments whenever possible. For example,
Membership was falling in my student organization. As membership chair, I developed a special recruiting campaign and sought help from the faculty. Through class announcements, a reception with an off-campus professional speaker, and a special dues package, I helped increase our membership by 40 percent and raised an additional $200 in dues revenue.
We have developed a tutorial for you to learn more about the key skills that employers across the country have said they look for. It includes suggestions for resources to help you develop or enhance those skills.