Have you ever been given feedback that you are underselling your skills and experience when applying for a job or promotion? You are not alone; many of us unwittingly sabotage our chance of success when applying for a new role by minimising our key strengths and capabilities required for the advertised position. Here are five tips from Big Fish Creative Recruitment to help you avoid making this common mistake:
1. Read through the selection criteriaRead the selection criteria carefully; what skills are required for the advertised position?The skills being sought by your potential employer will be clearly outlined in the selection criteria. Many people make the mistake of emphasising the primary work function in their last job, which may have little relevance to the selection criteria. Be sure to highlight the skills you have that are most important to your new employer.
2. Take time to reflect on what you do wellChances are, you are performing a multitude of tasks without even thinking about them, some of these you may be particularly skilled at. You may have a friend or manager who identifies a skill that you perform well at that you hadn’t realised was special. Have you ever had a problem and need some assistance, and you think to yourself ‘Ah! I know just the person to go to for help with that!’. Do others regularly approach you for help with a particular task?
3. Emphasise the skills the employer wants you forWhat skills are most important in the advertised role (see point 1)? Your ability to demonstrate the desired skills should be at the top of the list in your resumé, cover letter, or LinkedIn bio. A common mistake is placing too much emphasis on your current or previous job title. The role of Customer Service Officer indicates you have great interpersonal skills, but you may be working in any variety of industry with this generic job title. You may also be particularly skilled at sales, or have a natural leadership ability. You might be great with numbers, or have a caring and empathic nature. Make it easy for your future employer to choose you by emphasising that you have the skills they need!
4. Ask a friend for their perspectiveAsking a trusted friend to review your application and resumé beforehand is a marvellous idea; they will often catch a typo or two that you missed! They may also notice a strength you possess that you hadn’t noticed before. You may think you are ‘ok’ at a particular task, while another person may perceive your skill as remarkable.
5. Tailor your resume according to the job (or jobs) you wantTailoring your resume is a great way to showcase the different strengths you have that are relevant to different roles. Multi-skilled professionals often have several different versions of their resumé, each version tailored to suit a different industry. By prioritising your skills most relevant to the job, you stand out from your competitors. You can find more useful tips to make your resume stand out here!
Recognising your skills, and emphasising them clearly, is the key to securing your dream job.Whether you are just starting out in the workforce, or you’re a seasoned professional with a wealth of experience, life is all about learning. At any age, you could be pleasantly surprised to learn there is something that you do well, and so often these hidden talents are identified through someone else’s eyes!