Have you ever wondered how to market yourself or stand out as a job applicant? Well here are some key insights from Lydia Awuah-Mensah, the Program Coordinator at Laurier's Career Centre!
When thinking of the term "skills", most people think of the more technical or hard skills that can be easily quantifiable such as computer skills, typing speed, machine operation etc. But it's important to think of skills more broadly. Skills include knowledge, strengths/abilities, attributes/personal qualities and values. Skills don't just fit into a one-dimensional box, they involve human or people skills that you will be able to highlight during job interviews.
As mentioned, there are two categories of skills: technical/"hard" skills and human/ "soft" skills. Hard skills are technical skills that are able to be quantified. Soft skills are intangible skills that are hard to measure but are still very valuable.
Examples of hard skills
Years of experience
Examples of Soft skills
In this current climate, employers are placing similar, if not, more value on people skills (such as adaptability, resilience and problem-solving) rather than the technical skills as technical skills can be taught on the job. Thus, it's important to develop your human skills as much as your technical skills.
Reflecting on your experiences is crucial in order to have a back-pocket of all the relevant experiences in your life that you can draw from when writing an application or going for an interview. Reflecting on your skills and having a document ready when applying for jobs is a process that helps you grow. Reflection is not about criticism but it's about growth and being able to think critically on your experiences to improve yourself. Skills can be acquired/developed in a variety of settings as long as you are reflecting on your experiences. Examples of experiences are:
Class projects and assignments
Volunteer and community service experiences
Work experience (full-time and part-time)
Training (workshops, certificates. Professional training etc.)
When reflecting on your skills, ask yourself:
What happened and what skills did I develop?
How did you develop those skills?
Personal, community and academic growth
What were my successes and challenges?
What is the learning?
How will I apply what I have learnt?
What will I do differently/improve?
Personal Branding is also critical when it comes to marketing yourself to potential employers/colleagues. It can be done through resumes and cover letters but in today's climate, the use of social media is also a popular method. LinkedIn is a professional online platform that allows you to communicate your value to employers and helps you set yourself apart, creates opportunities and networks.
How to Create a Brand
Identify your passion (attributes, what makes you unique)
Check your social media presence and utilize it to share professional content
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube
Twitter-thoughts and ideas on specific topics, check industry leaders
Create and optimize your LinkedIn
Blogging, podcasting and website creation
Keys to Successful Branding
Be consistent–What you show about yourself should align with each other
Compelling –Don’t be afraid to stand out
Authentic–Become who you are meant to be
Code of Conduct- Always remember to remain professional