How to Put Strategic Skills Employers Want on Your Resume

strategic skillsIf you’re going to rock the job market and get interviews, then you have to put strategic skills on your resume. The goal is to hit the sweet spot of alignment between what you want and what employers want.

I talked with several career coaches. Most of them suggested starting with what you want and then matching your desires to the market. Others like to reverse engineer the process. They look at what the market wants and help their clients figure out how they match up. The key to accelerating your job search is to make finding the sweet spot of alignment a top priority.

Don’t waste valuable time on an untargeted search, trying to sell skills the market doesn’t want.

Here’s how to apply strategic skills to your resume that will capture the attention of employers.

Daily Life

Carlota Zimmerman, a New York City coach, asks her clients to walk through a day in their life and write down the skills they use. She says the results are staggering.

Major Life Decisions

Marilyn Santiesteban, Assistant Director of Career Services at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government & Public Service, has people walk her through their career choices.

She asks questions such as:

  • Did an early experience influence your career choice? What was it?
  • How do your values impact your career choice?
  • How did you choose your major?

The answers to those questions and more yield rich information about skills people often aren’t consciously aware they have.

Big Successes

Susan Peppercorn, a Boston career coach, has her clients analyze their accomplishments. She described a client who helped a university implement a new budgeting process. The department heads were skeptical of the new system and resisted the change. By looking at the situation, the actions her client took, and the outcome, they identified her client’s knowledge of budgeting and finance, her problem solving and communications skills, and her ability to persist.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Donna Schilder, a Los Angeles career coach, uses the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It’s an instrument originally developed to help people understand personal preferences and use them to make good career choices. Donna says studies show we tend to be better at work that falls within our preferences.

DiSC Profile

Camille Carboneau Roberts, a federal career consultant, has her clients complete a DiSC profile. She says the results build awareness beyond skills and help her clients understand how they fit into teams.


Shahrzad Arasteh, a Baltimore career coach, uses SkillScan to help her clients identify their transferable skills.

Focus & Refine

Phyllis Mufson, a Florida coach who works with career changers, has her clients get real. She asks people to look at their skills and identify: The skills they must be able to use in their jobs — their deal breakers. The skills they would like to use — their negotiables.

A Final Point on Strategic Skills

It’s important to realize that most people have a third set of skills — the ones they have but don’t want to use.

Don’t get caught in the trap of using skills you don’t enjoy.

Your entire life can pass in this manner if you don’t develop self-awareness and direct yourself to greater satisfaction.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Avid Careerist!


Avid Careerist

DonnaAbout the Author: Donna Svei is a retained executive search consultant and executive resume and LinkedIn profile writer. She blogs at Follow Donna on Twitter!



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