#60Day Challenge, Day 22: Know Which Skills You Need

#60Day 22 of 60 Which Skills Do You NeedThe #60Day is a two-month marathon where you, over the course of two months, spend 60 minutes each day completing a task that will put you in a much greater position to get hired. Today, Day 22 of the challenge, our focus goes to a valuable (yet hardly-ever-used) job search strategy: the skills required assessment.

When you open a box from Ikea, what is one of the first things you see? That’s right: directions, including a list of all the tools you’ll need to assemble everything in the box. A simple thing, really… but without it, building that piece of furniture would prove to be far more difficult.

Now imagine how helpful this step-by-step approach would help your career. Every piece of your professional life would be in that box, including a list of every tool necessary to build your career. Except careers, as you know, don’t work that way. There is no box. No directions. No list of tools.

That is where a “Skills Required Assessment” – where you learn the skills you must obtain to excel at your choice of careers – comes. Developing this list of skills required may seem daunting at first (kind of like that desk from Ikea!), yet the process is much simpler than it may sound. Here’s how to get started:

First, go online to find the relevant-to-you job postings of the employers from your Day 13 target list. From each posting, copy and paste the “Job Requirements” section into what will become a rather long Word document.

Second, go to resources like major job boards, blog posts on soft skills, industry associations and career-specific information available at your career center and do the same thing: copy and paste into your Word doc, every skill, both hard and soft, mentioned as a requirement.

Third, if time allows, ask your mentors and the subjects of your informational interviews their opinions on what skills you need to be really good at to do your job well. Add those comments to the document.

Finally, upload that document to TagCrowd – and let this terrific resource go to work. In just seconds, you’ll have a list of the most common words in your Word document; the more often the word is used, the larger it will appear in the cloud.

After eliminating the words not related to skills, write down the Top 15 to 20 words. When done, your list may look something like this example for a Community Manager:

  1. Social
  2. Media
  3. Bachelor (or other degree required)
  4. Marketing (or other preferred degree name)
  5. Communication
  6. Analytics
  7. Culture
  8. Enable
  9. Community
  10. Passion
  11. Customer
  12. Relationships
  13. Empathetic
  14. Listener
  15. Self-learner
  16. Collaborative
  17. Radian6
  18. Facebook
  19. Twitter
  20. LinkedIn

Congrats… you now have in your hands something almost none of your competition has: a list of the skills employers are looking and hiring for!

Today’s challenge task is almost done. All that’s left to do is to store somewhere safe, the doc that contains your top words. You’ll refer back to this often throughout the #60Day Challenge – including tomorrow, when we take a look at how your current skill set matches up against what you know to be required.

Now, go finish building that Ikea desk… you’ll need a good place to work as this challenge continues.

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