The job market is competitive, and one big difference between the modern workplace and that of decades past is that the competition now comes on both sides of the hiring table. Not only are the top qualified candidates vying for the top jobs, but the best companies are also competing with one another to attract the best talent. It’s an environment built for elite quality, so it’s beneficial for those in the job market to ensure that they have cultivated their marketable skills.
What exactly do we mean by marketable skills? Yes, most job applicants are qualified for a position in some way — they’ve got a college degree or certificate, they have previous experience in an industry, or they’re going for a promotion from their current position, to name just a few scenarios.
Marketable skills, then, are the elements of an applicant’s resume that make them better suited for the job at hand. These skills vary according to the industry, so for the sake of simplicity we’ll just use the example of a job applicant who is wanting to work in the marketing field.
Among the common marketable skills found in those working in the industry are creativity, ability to write strong copy, and strong observational skills. These skills are all at once quantifiable but also subjective, which is why it’s important for an applicant to show his or her unique abilities when given the opportunity.
Yes, it’s important to play up qualifications. College degrees, work experience, leadership experience, experience on specific projects or with specific programs – all of this is valuable and plays a role in the decision making process. However, what really sets an applicant apart is their ability to show their unique skills.
As a job applicant, think of what it is that makes this specific resume stand out. Yes, there’s a Bachelor’s degree listed — but so will nearly every other resume in the stack on the hiring manager’s desk. But perhaps one applicant is highly skilled at coming up with creative one-liners on the fly — this might fit well into a quick thinking, collaborative marketing agency.
Take the time to consider these nuances and how they play into the strengths that an individual possesses. So much of the quality of an employee’s work is subject to their brain and their personality, not the awards they’ve won or the degrees they’ve earned. So in turn, it’s important that employers consider the bigger picture and ask the right questions to bring these marketable skills to the forefront instead of only focusing on the bulleted accomplishments on a resume,
For those in the job seeking field, practice answering interview questions in ways that allow marketable skills to shine. For example, when asked a standard question such as “What was a situation in which you were challenged?”, rather than rattling on a monologue about rising to the occasion, find ways to insert more personality into the story. Tell a joke, if the room feels like it would be receptive to it.
Marketable skills aren’t just the tangibles that are easy to list on a resume, and those looking to build a strong employee base should be looking for these more subtle clues in to the personality of the applicant. For those who are job seeking, remember to find ways to show personality and play up even the skills that can’t just be typed on a list. This will help both job seekers and employers find the right match from a pool of eager applicants.