Marketable Skills Every Job Seeker Should Have

Looking for a job is hard work — you have to condense your life’s worth on a piece of paper that the hiring manager may only spend a few minutes scanning (and that’s if you’re lucky). Regardless of which profession you’re trying to break into, however, highlighting these marketable skills that transcend industries and roles can help you get an edge and get noticed amidst the sea of applicants.

marketable skills

Find Your Specialty and Advertise Yourself as An Expert in It

Pinpoint your biggest strength, passion or interest and highlight in your application how you’ve incorporated it into your career, says Kat Cohen, founder and CEO of IvyWise.

“Candidates who have an identifiable interest or passion that transcends multiple positions always impress me — especially if it’s something they can show they are an expert in,” she said. “[It] can be as simple as a love for technology that you’ve utilized to make improvements in a previous position or even a passion for writing and photography that helped bring your company’s branding and social media to the next level.”

Build Your Personal Brand

In today’s digital age, establishing a presence online can serve you well.

“No one skill or one buzzword will land you a job, but a defined brand shared through your network could get your resume from the middle of the pile to the top and land the dream job you want,” says Andrew Selepak, a professor at the University of Florida and director of the graduate program in social media.

He recommends showcasing skills and abilities online via social media accounts or personal websites, building a professional network by leveraging connections, and earning credentialed certificates that can be touted online.

Demonstrate Your Ability to Navigate Ambiguity

With the constantly evolving nature of today’s business landscape, both leaders and employees are expected to be highly flexible and agile to adapt to changing circumstances.

“Business cycles are accelerating in the digital age and so is the pace of change in the workplace,” said Leela Srinivasan, CMO of Lever. “Your ability to be empowered by ambiguity – instead of paralyzed by it – will be an asset to any employer.”

Given the fact that skills that will be relevant in the future may not even exist yet, your ability to continue growing, learning and evolving to keep up with change is more relevant than ever, she explains.

Demonstrate Your Leadership Ability

“Leadership is by far the most transferable and marketable skill,” said Jessica Hernandez, executive resume writer and CEO of Great Resumes Fast. “You don’t have to be the president of the company to use leadership skills.”

She recommends using words such as “directed,” “managed,” “oversaw” and “fostered” throughout the resume to showcase leadership experience and then back it up with evidence.

Tell Them You Want to Learn and Grow

 Staying on the cutting edge of your industry will require a commitment to training and development.

“As much as employers are looking for talent and skills, they are also looking for people who are invested in their career and want to continue to learn,” said Ben Hicks, partner and managing director at recruiting firm WinterWyman. “As a result, it’s important to demonstrate that you are committed to furthering your skill set as time goes on. Job functions, techniques and tools change over time and you have to stay ahead.”

How? He recommends attending conferences, joining networking groups, staying up-to-date on industry trends and obtaining certificates or training, for starters.

Deanna Hartley is a prolific writer and editor, having spent the past decade publishing hundreds of print and digital bylines on topics including job search advice, career development, recruitment, HR and human capital management that speak to both job seekers as well as employers/recruiters. Deanna has a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, is a former senior editor at award-winning publisher Human Capital Media in Chicago, and currently works as a senior copywriter at CareerBuilder. Her articles providing career advice have appeared in a variety of publications, including Gannett’s network of newspapers, Business Insider and Workforce Magazine. A proud female millennial immigrant, Deanna understands the importance and privilege of securing meaningful employment in the U.S. — and hopes, through her work, she can help others do the same.

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