What do you do when you find a job that interests you; one that could possibly be your dream job; one that you are convinced you could learn and do well; the only problem is you have no experience to back it up?

You could walk away.  But in a job market where there is such a scarcity of qualified candidates, many employers are open to considering candidates with “potential” rather than limiting their search to only those candidates with experience, so why not get to work and develop a plan to prove to the employer that you do have “potential”.

Where do you start?  

Most likely you already have the skills needed to successfully do the job; the challenge is to identify them and demonstrate how you have applied them to get things done. 

Throughout your personal, school and work life, you have been acquiring skills.  These are called transferable skills. These are the skills you take with you wherever you go. Some come to you naturally; others you have had to work at and, in some cases, you have devoted time and effort to develop them.  You also have soft skills; these are the skills that make you who you are. How you organize your life, how you approach life’s challenges, how you treat your coworkers, how you deal with authority, how you handle the pressure.  These are the skills that build good working relationships.

You can sell your potential to learn the job and excel by highlighting the transferable skills and soft skills you possess that are essential to the job you want.  You then must demonstrate how you have applied these skills successfully in the past.

To identify your transferable skills and your soft skills you must self-evaluate.

List all the jobs, experiences, accomplishments you have had in the past. Then examine each job, each experience, etc. to determine the skills that were needed to successfully do the job, win the prize, reach your goal, etc.  In addition, make a list of those skills you have spent time developing over the years. For example, let’s say you are a people person and you excel at both verbal and non-verbal communication. However, you had realized early on that your writing skills needed improvement, so you took some communication courses. Since communication skills are important to most jobs, this would be a selling point.

If you are having difficulty identifying your transferable skills, visit https://www.thebalancecareers.com/transferable-skills-list-525490 for a list of 87 transferable skills broken down by category. If you still need help use the SkillsMatcher at www.careeronestop.org.

Once you have your list now it’s time to review the job posting/announcement on the job that you want.  Write down the required skills and compare them to your list of skills. If you have the skills listed in the announcement, it’s time to start preparing your resume and cover letter.

Your resume and cover letter should only focus on the skills included in the job posting/announcement that you have developed over the years. Don’t detract from these all-important skills by including others that are not relevant to the position you are seeking.

Your resume and cover letter should not only highlight the essential skills you possess, but you will need to demonstrate how you have applied these skills successfully in the past and any steps you have taken to hone these skills.

For further assistance with your job search, visit MassHire Cape and Islands Career Center at 372 North Street, Hyannis. We are here to help.

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