March 21, 2014 — What have you done for your career lately? That is the question employers are more frequently asking to determine what personal development job-seekers have had recently, according to OI Global Partners, a leading human resources consulting firm that specializes in career transition, executive coaching, leadership consulting and other workforce solutions.
One reason for employers’ concern is their inability to find enough qualified candidates to fill all of their job openings. 54% of companies recently surveyed by CareerBuilder reported they have jobs they can’t fill, up from 41% in the 2011 survey.
Demonstrating that your knowledge and skills are up to date is particularly important for those who have been unemployed for a while. “Some employers interpret long unemployment as a lack of ambition. Showing that you are pursuing a degree or taking classes indicates you have drive and are expanding your knowledge,” said Patty Prosser, chair of OI Global Partners.
“Keeping your skills fine-tuned and knowledge fresh is critical in today’s hiring environment where specificity has become more important. Employers are seeking workers who have made a commitment to continuous learning. Companies want to hire and have on board employees who have tomorrow’s knowledge today. Relate how your recent learning can make you a great hire,” Prosser added.
OI Global Partners recommends these ways for job-seekers to demonstrate they are keeping their knowledge and skills current:
- Confront It: “Don’t wait for an interviewer to ask what you’ve learned lately. Bring it up at the outset and enumerate what you have been doing to keep your knowledge and skills relevant. In fact, when answering interviewers’ questions, provide real-life examples that will help support your relevancy to the position,” said Prosser.
- Resume: Expand the skills listed on your resume. Detail each particular area of your expertise – such as marketing, accounting, public relations, budgeting, forecasting, and inventory management. Specify how you have kept these skills current and quantify your accomplishments for each. Also, name each software product in which you are proficient and include recent updating.
- Coaching & Training: Include development coaching and training you have received and how this has helped improve your management and interpersonal skills.
- Freelancing: Specify any freelancing, part-time, contract or consulting work you have been performing, especially if it is relevant to the job opportunity. List any achievements and results you have accomplished. A growing number of employers prefer to hire new employees on a contract basis before making a decision whether to hire them full time.
- LinkedIn: Participate in conversations, join discussion groups on LinkedIn and become recognized as a knowledgeable source in your field. Follow companies you are interested in.
- Expertise: Showcase your expertise in your field by writing an article for a trade publication or being a speaker at a conference. Attend trade shows, conferences and technology expos to refresh your professional and technical knowledge. Write a blog or Tweet about topics in which you can show your expertise. Subscribe to SmartBrief.com on various topics of interest.
- Reading: Read professional journals, newsletters, websites and blogs to keep abreast of trends and issues. Your reading may also give you ideas for articles you can write for these sources.
- Volunteer: Volunteering enables you to improve your abilities as well as to try out new skills. Use accomplishments you achieve while volunteering to show potential employers. Also, volunteering provides a rich source of networking contacts.
- Online: Participate in training webinars, take online courses and subscribe to industry blogs to be up to date on the latest news and trends in your field.
- Academic: Pursue a degree in another field or an advanced degree in your discipline. Take onsite or online courses, acquire or renew professional certifications. Check with your state’s department of labor; many provide funding for continuing education.
OI Global Partners