Dear Career Doctor:
When I was out of work before, I quickly got a new job. Now, even though I have good skills and contacts, employers seem to want very specific skills that I don’t have. I am in information technology and don’t seem to be able to convince them that I can do the job, even though I know I can. Any advice?
My advice for you, a person looking for a job, is the same as it is for a person who has a good job: it’s all about skills these days.
The job market is strange: while jobs are available in many areas, employers are asking for very specific skills. And even people with good jobs, who in the past could count on rising through the ranks, are no longer assured of upward mobility.
It’s not only important to do a good job and keep up your contacts, but it’s also necessary to keep up with cutting edge training and skills. I know that sounds exhausting, but here’s the good news: many colleges, universities, trade schools and especially community colleges have expanded their curricula to help people update their skills. Look around and you will find that many offer continuing education courses or short term certificate programs that can help.
So here’s my advice to every reader, whether you are looking for a job, or merely want to feel more secure in the one you have: identify the “hot” skills in your area and sign up for training. Put that information on your resume with the name of the institution, the course(s) you are taking and the term “On-going” as the date. This will show employers that you understand the need for state-of-the-art skills and are responsible enough to obtain them.