For anyone who is now or likely to be in the job market and therefore will need at some time to front up to an interview, the Interview Chatter blog is required reading and a must-link for a feed reader.
Like this blog, Interview Chatter is part of the b5media business channel. Its author, Darlene McDaniel, has a gift for explaining all those things that as a former job seeker I wished I had known and as a former executive and interviewer I wished I’d been able to communicate to sweaty-palmed or nonchalant or “just don’t get it” interviewees.
Darlene’s post a few days ago on transferable skills was a typical gem. Transferable skills, Darlene explains, are “general skills and abilities employers look for in potential employees”, such as decision-making ability and time management.
In my observation, it’s very easy for any of us to overlook skills we have which are actually transferable.
A classic example of how a candidate can overlook their own skills and thus not do themselves justice in an interview is a single parent who has to be a supremo in the decision-making, time-management, prioritizing, child psychology and diplomacy departments but fails to recognize how valuable that sort of skill base can be to many employers.
Or someone who has driven a taxi for several years, as I did long ago, may not realize how valuable to a potential employer it might be to have someone on their staff who knows something about dealing with drunks and other disagreeable people without getting their head knocked in or having to call the police.
Darlene has a great list and any job candidate would do well to sit down with her list, go through it and document their own skills.
A skill I would add is blogging.
Yes, blogging. And this is why. As Web 2.0/social media technology becomes more pervasive in the workplace, more and more business owners and executives are going to be looking for people who have the skills to handle the technology.
And as any half-way committed blogger knows, there is a lot of knowledge and skill in this field that you can only acquire by doing it.
So, for example, an eighteen year old who may not have a lot of developed skill in financial management may be a mad keen blogger/MySpacer : the knowledge and skill they have acquired in that private activity might be very timely and potentially very valuable, say for a financial services business which is about to set up a corporate blog and needs someone to make it all work.
If I were the employer, I might well decide that the blogging candidate’s skills in this area outweighed a lack of experience in other skill areas. That candidate might well get the job over someone with more financial skills but who doesn’t blog or have any interest in blogging.
Or for a job that required a lot or a reasonable amount of writing, think how good would it be for a candidate to be able to say to a prospective employer, “Sure, I’ve been writing in my blog for the past couple of years, I have x number of subscribers and y number of page views a month. You don’t need to take my word for it. It’s all there for you to check.”
And a candidate who blogs needs to remember and explain that blogging effectively and building a loyal readership is about more than writing. It’s about studying visitor stats to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s about being able to respond intelligently to comments, including critical ones. It’s about social networking.