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Education and work experience provide a solid foundation for obtaining some technical skills as a young adult. But, do you have enough of these skills to get hired?
During the application and interview process, Applicant Tracking Systems and hiring committees assess whether you meet the qualifications listed in the job description. Therefore, your technical skills are one of the first things employers evaluate.
What are technical skills?
Technical skills are a type of hard skill that are defined as technical proficiencies or job-specific skills. These skills can typically be taught and learned. Usually, you can find these skills listed as qualifications or expectations in the job description.
Technical skills can be defined as skills “acquired by using and gaining expertise in performing physical or digital tasks.” For example: proficiency in Microsoft office.
Remember, technical skills are different than soft skills. Soft skills are defined as “people skills,” personal attributes, or innate traits that can’t necessarily be learned in on-the-job training or in a classroom.
Why are technical skills so important?
So why are technical skills important? Because employers are looking for a person who can dive into work and assist the company in achieving its goals as quickly as possible. Hiring managers are evaluating your technical skills not only to see how much experience you have but also to assess how much training you will need if you are hired.
In order to land an interview and ultimately get the job, you need to prove that you are an ideal fit for the position. How can you do this? Start by highlighting your strongest and most relevant technical skills with a special focus on applicable and position-specific technical skills. Be sure to incorporate them into your cover letter, resume, and interview answers to differentiate you from the competition.
As a whole, it is crucial to highlight your technical skills because the hiring committee will prioritize a candidate who showcases that they have applicable experience.
Which technical skills are most employers looking for?
Naturally, each job requires different technical skills. While it is unrealistic to have each one mastered, it is beneficial to have a good baseline of developed technical skills.
The 10 universal technical skills that are relevant to most positions, regardless of the field, are:
- Project management- planning, operations, scheduling, etc.
- Microsoft office
- Technical writing: email, documentation, research, client relations, blogging, etc.
- Social media management
- Digital/content marketing
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Customer management systems
- Cloud/SaaS services
- Google Drive
Familiarize yourself with your strong technical skills
Highlight and focus on relevant and position specific technical skills. Remember to incorporate these skills into your cover letter, resume, and interview answers.
Don’t get discouraged
Don’t get discouraged if you haven’t mastered every technical skill in the job description. The good news? Technical skills can be taught in on-the-job training!
Develop and grow
We always have room for growth! Take time to do some self-reflection and identify technical skills that need development. Allow yourself an opportunity to grow and learn, and stay open-minded and receptive to feedback.
Seek assistance and ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help in an area that you’re unfamiliar with. You are not in this alone. There are countless resources that can help you with development and provide guidance. These resources can range from professional help, to friends and family, to coaches and mentors, and, of course, A Guide For Your 20’s!
About the Author
Dr. Alyssa Harmon-Salter
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership
Alyssa holds an Ed. D. in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. For the last 7 years, she has mentored hundreds of college students on how to be successful academically and in prepping for a job.
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