Struggling to prove your skills to an employer? Here are a few things you can do to show what you’re capable of.
A quick Google will tell you what the most in-demand skills are for 2023. According to Forbes contributor Bernard Marr, the five most wanted tech skills for this year are data communicator/storyteller, cybersecurity, UX design, digital marketing and AI.
Towards the end of December of last year, Hays’ Technology global head James Milligan wrote a piece published by SiliconRepublic.com outlining his predictions for the most in-demand tech jobs of 2023.
Milligan identified business analyst as the most popular, with project manager in second place. As he pointed out, many of these roles require one to have soft skills such as communication and flexibility.
But how do you demonstrate these skills? Here are a few pointers on how to prove to colleagues and bosses that you have the skills they’re looking for.
Let’s start with the most obvious thing to do – communicate. Communication is a vital skill and employers want to know that you have it.
Even for roles that are not customer facing, communication skills are essential. Writing emails, negotiating deals, collaborating with colleagues: all of these require you to be a good communicator.
The best time to prove to an employer that you are a good communicator is during the first job interview and application process. In all likelihood, you won’t even get an interview if your CV isn’t well written, and you won’t get the job if you can’t effectively convince the person interviewing you why you’re the right candidate.
It seems very simple – and it is – but to show your communication skills, you have to use them. First impressions are crucial. Presuming you’ve secured an interview for your dream job, your main task is to explain why you’re the person they should hire.
If you’re in a room with them (and it’s not a virtual interview) pay attention to your body language as well as what you say. If you sound confident but don’t appear confident, your interviewer might receive mixed messages – and vice versa.
Don’t slouch in your chair, try and make eye contact and take your time. Trust that the rest will come.
Imagine this scenario: you’ve got a great CV that’s well written and you’ve made a good first impression with the interviewer and the people you’ve met in the corridor. Then your interviewer asks you a question that throws you – ‘Talk me through your CV?’ or ‘Why should we hire you?’
If you haven’t anticipated this you’re probably in for a bit of a shock. Some gifted communicators will be able to come up with a wonderful answer right off the bat, but for most people, the ‘Talk me through your CV’ chestnut requires a bit of advance preparation.
Interviewers are pretty much guaranteed to ask you to talk about your experience, so you need to put some thought into what you’re going to say.
The STAR method is a great way to structure your answer – otherwise you might sound long-winded, or worse, unprepared and scattered.
STAR is an acronym used in recruitment circles that stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. Start with a situation you were in; then describe what you had to do; then how you did it; and finish with what happened afterwards.
If you want a more forensic guide to using STAR, this blog post by Recruiters.ie breaks it down brilliantly.
Use your emotional intelligence
We already touched on this one above with communication and body language. But once you get a job and you’re well established in a role, communication becomes subsumed into a wider skillset along with other soft skills.
Communication, adaptability, listening, leadership, etc, are all soft skills that indicate emotional intelligence.
If you’re emotionally intelligent, you’ll find it easier to do your job and cope with any challenges it throws your way.
Demonstrating that you are emotionally intelligent is similar to demonstrating you can communicate. It’s intuitive and there’s no instruction manual.
As long as your employer and your colleagues can see that you are making an effort to be conscientious, fair and hard-working, you’ll be looked on as an emotionally intelligent person.
Leadership is a quality that not all people have, but being self-led is a skill everyone should work on even if they aren’t going to lead a team any time soon.
Being self-led means being resourceful, independent and driven. A great way to demonstrate to those you work with that you’re all of these things is to take charge of your own learning and development.
Keep on top of your hard skills, whether they are in cybersecurity, data analysis, AI or digital marketing.
Taking the initiative and doing a little bit extra to make sure you’re the best you can be shows everyone that you can be trusted to work independently and without constant management oversight.
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