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No matter what kind of job you’re searching for there are certain keywords you see in almost every posting that relate to skills: communication, multitasking, teamwork, creativity, critical thinking, leadership, determination, productivity, motivation, and a few more. These words and phrases are used in job search language because they embody the professional persona all employers are looking for. Focus on these areas and you will make a great professional impression on job interviews.
Be the professional everyone wants to work with
Over the years, I’ve read a lot of books about finding jobs, winning promotions, and managing your career. One theme that runs through many of them is just plain harmful: the advice to “be yourself.” Wrong. You weren’t born a professional. You developed new skills and ways of conducting yourself, emulated the more successful professionals around you and in effect created a professional persona that enabled you to survive in the professional world.
There is a specific set of transferable skills and professional values that underlie survival and professional success: skills and values employers all over the world in every industry and profession are anxious to find in candidates from the entry level to the boardroom. Why this isn’t taught in schools and in the university programs that cost a small fortune is unfathomable, because these skills and values are the foundation of every successful career.
They break down into these groups:
The Technical Skills of Your Current Profession
These are the technical competencies that give you the ability to do your job—those skills needed for a task and the know-how to use them productively and efficiently. These technical skills are mandatory if you want to land a job within your profession. Technical skills, while transferable, vary from profession to profession, so many of your current technical skills will only be transferable within your current profession. Be able to communicate that you have the deliverables for this job.
Transferable Skills That Apply in All Professions
This set of skills underlies your ability to execute the technical skills of your job effectively, whatever that job might be. They are the foundation of all the professional success you will experience in this and any other career (including dream and entrepreneurial careers) that you may pursue over the years.
- Critical Thinking
These are a set of beliefs that enable all professionals to make the many judgment calls required during the working day to ensure that the best interests of the department and the employer are always promoted.
- Motivation and Energy
- Commitment and Reliability
- Pride and Integrity
- Productivity and Economy
- Systems and Procedures
No matter what the job, the profession, or the elevation of that job, these skills and values make the difference between success and failure. They are the transferable skills and professional values that every interviewer is looking for.
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