Have you ever wanted a job that you thought might be out of reach? Have you ever decided not to apply for a job because you thought you could not compete or didn't have the required skills?

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You don't need to meet every requirement on a job description to get the role, if you can frame the experience you do have well.

Step One: Brainstorm Your Past Accomplishments

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Consider the last job you had, and answer these questions:

  1. Were you one of the best at anything?

  2. Are there any accomplishments you are proud of?

  3. What would your coworkers say if they were asked to describe you?

  4. Did your supervisor recognize you for anything you did?

  5. Did you train anyone?

  6. Were you promoted?

Flaticon Icon Are these reflected on your resume? If not, you can still emphasize them in the interview.

Meet Eric

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  • Eric has only worked for one employer, a large wholesale store.

  • He's worked there for two years stocking shelves and for four years as a cashier.

  • Eric has decided the job is no longer the right fit for him.

  • He's hoping to work in a call center.

Eriv has an interview tomorrow, and he wants to show that he's the right fit for the job.

For Step One, Eric made this list:

  1. Great customer service, lots of compliments

  2. Always finished tasks on time

  3. Helped train new employees in stocking before moving to a cashier position

  4. Volunteered for work on holidays

  5. Promoted

  6. Worked shifts stocking shelves when they needed extra help after his promotion.

Pro Tip: Make your list as thorough as you can.

Step Two: Identify Relevant Soft Skills

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Take your list and identify one or more soft skills for each item on your list.

For example, Eric was recognized for great customer service. Related soft skills may include: communication, teamwork, conflict resolution, work ethic, and interpersonal skills.

Quiz

Eric also trained other employees. Being selected to train others shows that your employer values you and relies on you. Which skill or skills are reflected by his training experience?

Step Three: Study The Job Posting

Byte Author Uploaded Image Once you have your own list, review the job posting for keywords to get clues about what they are looking for in a job candidate.

Make a List of Keywords

In this example, we have underlined some keywords to show what the employer wants.

  • enthusiasm

  • problem-solving

  • multiple computer programs/screens

  • multitask

  • fast-paced

  • communication

  • dependable

  • flexible

  • customer service (Customer experience/patience/customer needs)

Step Four: Match Your Experience To Their Keywords

Matching Skills

The call center employer wants:

  • customer service

  • flexibility

  • communication

  • enthusiasm

  • patience

  1. Eric can show these skills and attributes with his example of great customer service.

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    (There may be additional soft skills that fit as well.)

  2. Eric also volunteered to work holidays. What does this demonstrate?

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If you go through your own list this way, you may be surprised how well your experience fits what the employer is looking for.

Missing Skills

Computer Proficiency:

Eric should emphasize his proficiency with computer programs from school, hobbies, or daily life since he didn't use computers as much in his last job.

Multiple Screens:

Eric hasn't used multiple screens or programs in his past work. However, he uses his phone this way all the time. He should emphasize that he is tech savvy and a fast learner.

Quiz

Eric also finished his tasks on time. What does this show about Eric?

Step Five: Prepare Specific Examples

In the interview, you will need to emphasize that you have experience that fits what the employer is seeking.

Be ready with examples of how your experience matches their needs.

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In his interview, Eric will want to showcase his customer service skills as both his old job and the job he wants require customer service.

Listen to his answer when asked to give an example about his dedication to customer service.

Eric did a great job of following the STAR method in giving the example. He gave the Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

Flaticon Icon If the interviewer asks about an example of teamwork, Eric can emphasize that he helped stock when needed.

"Several times, my employer asked for volunteers to help stock. We were short-handed. I liked working as a cashier better because I enjoyed interacting with people. Since they needed me to stock, I always took at least one stocking shift. My coworkers were relieved to have some help."

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Eric showed teamwork by describing the situation, task, action, and result. He has also emphasized that he enjoys interacting with people, a definite plus for the call center job.

Summary

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Now that you have your list of accomplishments, take some time to prepare examples of your skills.

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Can you find something on your list that shows excellent teamwork? If not, is there an example you overlooked? Prepare a brief story to show you are a team player.

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This Byte has been authored by

JH

Juli Heaton

Attorney and Learning Designer