Find the gaps in your skills base and be job search ready - Women's Agenda

Find the gaps in your skills base and be job search ready

We’ve introduced our 10 day special: How to make 2013 your career year. Day One was all about setting goals to determine exactly what you want from your career and personal life in 2013. Yesterday we focused on researching and equipping yourself with all the information you need to take your career where you want it to be. Today is all about building a solid foundation of job-skills. 

Before you start working on your resume and putting it out there, you need to make sure you have the right skills for the job you want.

By now you should have pinpointed the exact job that you want and completed some research into the relevant companies that grab your interest. The next step is to identify any gaps you may have in your skills base.

To do this, start by setting up a meeting with your current manager, the principal of Sydney Career Coaching, Tina Monk, recommends.

“Take the initiative, set up a time with your manager on a regular basis (every couple of months) just for a quick catch-up – even just for a coffee,” she advises.

“Ask them what you’re doing well and if there are any areas for development. If your manager is willing to be really honest with you – and if you’re not defensive when you get feedback and you’re open to that – then you can find what skills gaps you have and what areas you need to develop.”

By doing this, says Monk, you will show that you’re keen and eager to learn helping you to be “more top of mind” for promotion than the employee who does nothing but the minimum.

Another tip from Katie Roberts, the director of Katie Roberts Career Consulting, is to look at the skills of your superiors and see what you need to change to reach their level.

The next step is to do some more research. This is particularly important for those wanting to switch roles or change industries.

Career coach and brand consultant Gillian Kelly from Career Edge says to think about the role you’re after and find out what is on employers’ wish lists by looking at the job descriptions advertised online.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the job-skills wish list for employers in 2013 includes clear communications, personal branding, flexibility and productivity improvement.

“You need to have a really good understanding about that [wish list] so you can market yourselves towards that,” she says.

“Map out all the things that are consistently wanted for that role and then you can assess yourself against those to see where your gaps are.”

Once you have assessed the gaps in your skills base, work out whether you need to enroll in a short course or extra training to ensure that you meet or exceed the standard.

HOMEWORK: What you need to do today:

  1. Meet with your manager: Organise a regular catch-up with your boss to find out how you’re doing and what you need to improve.
  2. Get online: Research the job descriptions advertised online for a specific job you want and work out what skills you’re missing.
  3. Take action: If you’re lacking the skills you need for the promotion or new job, enroll in some training, a short course or work experience to get you where you need to be.

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