What are Skills & Abilities?

A Blog by Dallas LaFramboise

With the job market constantly changing due to an ever changing technology field, the call for a new brand of skill sets are making head way amidst the workforce today. One can’t help but wonder—how does one describe oneself in a specific field of profession, flooded with a diverse pool of potentials? How does one differentiate oneself from others without sounding too generic or too repetitive? We’ve all had our fair share of the “deer in the headlight” moments when faced with trying to describe ourselves in point form. Let’s see if we can assist you with the “writers block” section of preparing that targeted resume for that specific application.

One of the first steps is identifying your area of expertise, we all have one and we can easily discover what it is by just listening to ourselves. It sounds silly, I know but, hear me out. “What do you enjoy doing?” is such a vague question that usually confuses a lot of people, myself included. I enjoy doing a lot of things. That being said, we have to be a little more specific in our question. What do you enjoy doing for fun? What do you enjoy doing for employment? Are there any similarities with the two? Do you enjoy working with your hands or using your voice? Are you a people person? Do you prefer to work in groups, or alone? These are just a few of the questions we can use to identify what it is we are truly in search of. For example, I find it easy to talk to people. My question to myself would look like “How could I use that skill for work?” I also consider myself a “people person” so naturally, any profession where I would interact with people on a daily basis would be best suited for my “personality”.

Once you determine what field would best suit your personality, break down the employment options to a more defined search such as, if you prefer working with people, but are more of a listener than a talker, then your options become more suited to your needs as a job seeker. Remember, the goal isn’t finding a job, the goal is finding a job that you will enjoy doing.

Upon finding that employment opportunity that grabs your attention, make note of the “industry” and determine if the industry compliments your skill set. For example, my current skill set and personality would best fit the Customer Service industry. I would then figure out what aspect of customer service I would want to immerse myself into such as Retail, Food and Beverage or any other type of Human Service.

Targeting a resume for a specific application becomes easier each time, once you determine your area of expertise, identifying potential employment opportunities that beckon for your skill set, become a lot easier to spot during active job searches.

Once you’ve identified your wants and needs as a job seeker, you can now focus on the skill set that you feel would make you the successful candidate for the job. Listing out Skills and Abilities can be tricky if you haven’t had to “refocus” a resume before, so avoid the trap of listing out previous employment experiences unless it relates to what you’re applying into. For example, if I were to apply for a clothing retail position, I wouldn’t use “worked 2 years for delivery company” as a skill point.

Let’s take an Accountant for example. A few skill points could be;

  • Strong attention to detail.
  • Efficient organizational skills.
  • Effective interpersonal skills.
  • Integrity.
  • Able to meet deadlines and perform under pressure.

The key thing to remember while focusing your resume is to try not omit any valuable, pertinent information. You have to look at it in the sense of “being top of the crop”, meaning, why would an employer choose you? When you go shopping and find an item, you compare price and sometimes ingredients. You, as a job seeker, are no different and subjugated to a “look see” from a potential employer. An employer, who’s in the market for a potential employee, but are looking for that specific applicant, will go through all the applicants’ ingredients list (your Skills and Abilities) and then they will decide who is a better fit for their company.

Not listing certain “ingredients” will certainly count against you. It is also important to note that any type of training such as First Aid, CPR, AED or any other type of Safety certification should always be listed regardless if the certificate is expired. Just because a ticket expires, that doesn’t mean your skill or experience in that field expired with that ticket. Its a lot easier to renew an expired ticket than it is to schedule your training before you’re able to start your new job.

Don’t forget to submit a cover letter with the application. Your resume is the Technical and your cover letter represents your interest and passion. But, this is for another time. Good luck in your job search and remember to always be tooting your own horn, especially in the Skills and Abilities section.  🙂 D