What To Do When You Lack Desirable Skills
Via Careerealism : One of the first tasks of an effective job search is to research the labor market. Review job openings in your targeted area to determine:
- What is available
- The keywords and phrases used by employers
- The typical pay rate
- And of course, the requirements that are typically required
But, what should you do if you find that jobs are available in your targeted area and the pay, education, and other requirements are a great match, but you are lacking one of the skills employers are looking for?
First, don’t panic! Do an assessment of where you are in relation to the skill in question – actually rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10. Chances are you know what the skill is or entails, at least.
Next, consider how best to obtain that skill. An Internet search will likely provide all the information you need. Enter “how do I obtain ___ skill” into a Google search field. You might be surprised at how much information is available.
Once you have a better idea of how to obtain the skill, set out to do so. Some common methods for obtaining new skills include:
- Internship or on-the-job-training (OJT)
- Job shadowing
- Auditing a class
If you need a very specialized skill that can only be obtained from an employer, then read all you can about the attributes and qualities necessary to obtain the skill and think about how you would go about developing this skill.
Finally, once you have started to develop the skill (or have a plan to do so), give some thought to how you will present this information to an employer so that you will be an attractive candidate.
In a cover letter, you might indicate that you are excited to be volunteering and increasing your skill with ____. Or, you could your knowledge about the missing skill and indicate how you plan to obtain this skill. Under Professional Development, you might list the course or book you are reading or auditing. You might even suggest an OJT in a cover letter or interview.
The bottom line – apply! Employers often print what amounts to a wish list of attributes they would like to find in a candidate, even if not realistic or necessary. Chances are if you are able to demonstrate that you have the bulk of the required skills and at least a plan to obtain the missing one, you will be given serious consideration.
About the author
Mary Sherwood Sevinsky is a career and occupational consultant who is masters-prepared and certified. She is a business owner with nearly 20 years of experience in Corporate Management, Career Assessment & Counseling and in writing Career Articles and Educational Materials. She has worked as a corporate manager experienced in hiring, firing, and managing a staff of professionals with a multi-million dollar budget.
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