Male jobseeker holding a pen and thinking about what employers want
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Do you have the one major skill employers want?

6 Jun 2018

There are plenty of attributes and skills that employers want from jobseekers. Hays’ Jane McNeill talks about one of the most important traits.

Are you currently on the lookout for a new role? If so, then there’s one important attribute that you might just be forgetting to prove to potential employers. A trait that’s crucial in this day and age.

I’m talking about the need to demonstrate that you are a constant learner.

Why is this so important? Well, because in this era of rapid digital change, the skills in demand are becoming outdated as we speak.

And, whilst most employers will invest in upskilling their workforces to keep up with this pace of change, they will inevitably lean towards jobseekers who can also take charge of their own learning.

In other words, if you want to increase your appeal to potential employers, you’ll need to prove that you have the attribute of being a constant learner.

Therefore, for the sake of your current and future career success, it is in your interest to upskill proactively and regularly. It is not enough to just upskill, however. If you really want to stand out during your job search, you will need to prove yourself as a constant learner. Here’s how:

Showcase your continuous learning on your CV 

Update your CV with the new skills you’ve learnt or experiences you’ve had. This means that, should your ideal role come knocking, you’ll be in a strong position to progress your application quickly.

Remember to add any courses, even learning seminars and events that you have recently attended, to your CV. These points could go under your ‘Key skills’, ‘Qualifications’ and ‘Career history’ section or wherever else you think is relevant.

When updating your CV, try to be succinct but also provide enough detail for an employer to understand the value of what you’ve learned – what you studied, when and who with, as well as the skills you’ve acquired.

Remember that employers need and value proof, so bring your learning to life on your CV by adding one or two quantifiable examples of how newly acquired knowledge led to successes at work.

For instance, if you’ve recently completed a presentation skills course, mention how many successful presentations you’ve given since and the value of the client contracts you’ve won as a result.

Update your LinkedIn profile with your newly acquired skills

Refresh your LinkedIn profile with information about what you have studied, the skills you’ve learnt and any qualifications you’ve gained (but make sure this is consistent with the information on your CV).

Tailoring your wording in this way will ensure your profile comes up in a search by a hiring manager or recruiter looking for a candidate with your knowledge set.

I would also strongly suggest adding your new skills to your profile so that your network can endorse you – this will help build your credibility in the eyes of your network.

Similar to your CV, your profile will tell the reader you have a record of learning, and back up any claims you make about having the attributes of being proactive, professional or a knowledge leader in your field.

Share your new knowledge on social media

Align your social media presence with your personal brand of being a constant learner.

You could start by sharing any helpful blogs you’ve read recently or a podcast you listened to on your morning commute – pulling out a key learning you came away with and sharing it with your network.

This is not about pretension, but showcasing how the knowledge you’re gaining helps those aspiring to a role like yours.

Write blogs for industry publications and social media

Writing and publishing blogs about what you’ve learnt and how it has shaped your thinking is another great way to demonstrate your knowledge.

Of course, for this to help and not hinder you, you need to do a good job. Ask a friend or mentor to proofread your blogs to ensure your thoughts flow cohesively and that there are no typos or grammatical errors.

Also, it’s vital you attribute any quotes or thinking to their original source. Nothing will sink your personal brand faster – not to mention your chances of landing a new job or promotion – than stealing someone else’s ideas or plagiarising another person’s work.

If you get all that right, a bonus is the blog also shows off your written communication skills. You could publish this via your own professional blog or your LinkedIn publisher profile.

Writing about what you’re learning and how it relates to boosting your industry is also a great way to retain the knowledge you’ve acquired. Besides, if you want to build a reputation as a knowledge leader in your sector, you can’t keep what you’re learning to yourself.

When it comes to hiring decisions, employers will value the jobseekers who can appreciate the pace of digital transformation, and take ownership of their learning throughout their careers.

If you can prove this attribute during your job search, no doubt you will soon make the shortlist of employers far and wide, going on to achieve interview success.

By Jane McNeill

Jane McNeill is managing director of both New South Wales and Western Australia at Hays.

A version of this article originally appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog.

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