9 Skills Job Seekers Should Master



Your new role as a full-time or part-time job seeker didn't come with a job description. It should have.


Job hunting is a lot like a sales profession. You have to identify prospects, nurture relationships with potential buyers, track and monitor leads through the sales cycle, pitch your product or service and negotiate deals. If you have never held a sales position before, many of these skills may be new to you. If you want to improve your job search, now is a good time to master some of these skills.


Exceptional communication skills. Every email or pitch you deliver needs to be clear, concise and relevant to your target audience (potential employer). Now is the time to learn how to craft attention-grabbing email subject lines, succinctly highlight the most compelling benefits of hiring you and by all means, use your email signature to link to your online portfolio. The best way to demonstrate you have exceptional communication skills is to prove it during your job search.


Keen attention to detail. From your writing skills to how you dress shows your commitment to details. You can also prove you follow directions by carefully adhering to the instructions laid out in the job application and during the interview process. And of course, your cover letter and resume must be typo-free.


Familiarity with databases. You may not need to know how to create a database, but you should be able to add data. Some companies may require you know how to use a customer relationship management software, or CRM, an intricate web of connected information on customers and potential customers. It is critical to your job search success that you have some form of database or system to keep track of the people you meet, jobs you've applied to and interviews in order to stay in contact and follow up.


Ability to synthesize data. Data analysis is one of the top skills employers are looking for. It is also important during your career search. How thoroughly did you review the job description? It shows in how well your resume matches the job requirements. Be sure to address the skills requested throughout your resume, LinkedIn profile and even cover letter. And don't forget to research a company before you apply. You can use this research to customize your resume and cover letter to address any recent projects or developments the company has announced.


Understanding of sales cycle and selling skills. Selling is part of every career. In order to get your co-workers on board with an idea, you have to convince them it is worth their time and effort. The same is true for your career search. You are selling yourself and this takes skill and practice. The sales cycle refers to the steps it takes to nurture the lead and close the deal. Anyone in sales knows that this takes time. As a job seeker, you want to understand the recruiting process for each company you are applying to. Also be aware that it takes time to build relationships, but the return on your investment is huge. Referred candidates are far more likely to be hired and the only way you can get referred is to know someone.


Demonstrated time management skills. Prioritizing tasks and managing a crisis are daily requirements within most jobs. Your search is no different. Every day you are accountable for completing tasks to meet your goal of finding a job. You need to schedule networking meetings, follow up on applications, arrange phone interviews, reach out to recruiters, customize your marketing materials and cram for an upcoming interview. During a career search, you must master your organizational skills and be able to work independently with little supervision.


Use of social media and new technology resources. No matter what role you are pursuing, social media is infiltrating all fields. Employees are being asked to share company news and job postings with their networks. Some companies are using Twitter for customer service. And other organizations are using Facebook to promote and even host live online events. If you have been dismissing social media, now is a good time to look at it as a business tool worth understanding.


Observe and practice business etiquette. How you answer your phone, how you dress for an interview, even the font you use in your emails convey your understanding of business etiquette. Do you always follow up in a timely manner? Not doing so sends a message you are not interested or responsible, or both. When you leave a voicemail message, do you speak slowly and include your name and contact number? You should. While job hunting, you want to present the best professional image, and that requires an understanding of the sometimes unwritten rules of business. Showing courtesy, respect and professionalism at all times is a minimum requirement of a job seeker and an employee.


Strong negotiating skills. In some roles, negotiating contracts or terms of service is essential. But even if negotiating isn't explicitly required, almost every job requires basic negotiating skills. You may need to negotiate deadlines or additional job responsibilities. During the interview process, pay attention to information that will help you negotiate your job offer. If you avoid negotiating your offer, the employer may wonder what else you would avoid negotiating on the job.