Do you know the difference between a job doing skill and a job fitting-in skill?
Employers do. Be sure you do too!
In a job interview, you’ve got to demonstrate that you have job-doing skills and job-fitting in skills.
Job-doing means skills that are specific and relevant to DOING that particular job. Not vague, general, abstract skills. Hard Skills. In addition to DOING skills, you need to have Soft Skills. Skills that show you know how to work well with others inside the organization and outside the organization, too.
Here’s how to talk smart about your skills (and accomplishments):
- Know the difference between a hard skill, a soft skill, and a personality trait.
- Be able to talk about your hard skills and soft skills.
- Be specific. Don’t talk in generalities.
- Paint a picture. What does it look like when you use the skill? Who are you with? What’s your role? What’s the context?
- For each skill, communicate your purpose or intention in the situation.
- Be able to explain what makes this skill critical or important in your work or in the particular industry or context. Make sure what you highlight is relevant. Know how to talk about skills that are essential.
- Be able to communicate evidence of your success in using the skill; have an example or a story or scenario. Be able to answer the question, what is proof that I have been successful? Think: how do I know that I’m good/great at this? How can I convey that what I delivered is high quality?
How do you choose which skills you want to emphasize?
Choose what you are good at doing.
Talk about what is important-essential- to the job.
Know the key job-doing skills. Look at a job description. What are the actions, the doing’s?
Context/experience: What knowledge is critical for you to be able to do the job?
Choose what you can talk about and show an impact, ideally with numbers or that shows a change/improvement/a tangible result.
Every skill you talk about in a job interview should have an impact that you can describe – and that is meaningful and important.
Take the “specific” test. How can I give more texture and meaning to the skill? How can I add qualities and context? How can I make it interesting and show that I’ve done a quality job?
Use this checklist:
- Specific skill
- What makes it important in the work
- When is it used/context: paint a picture, give us the setting
- What is evidence that it was effective/successful. Outcomes, benefits, change that occurred. Ideally paint a picture perhaps one with numbers showing the impact/difference; or paint us a picture as far as what was made possible, what it led to a few steps further down the road. Was it a temporary fix or a permanent impact?
For extra credit: Don’t be vague! Don’t say you have “people” skills. Think about it: the phrase “people skills” is meaningless. Many of us have skills that pertain to working with people, but generalizing does not help a potential employer learn anything about what you do well with people and what makes you the best candidate for the job.