Skills vs. Qualifications — What’s the Difference?

 

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Ready for an a-ha moment? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you discover the  differences between your qualifications and your skills, and hey, you might just start looking at writing a new resume with an enthusiasm you never thought possible for such a detested activity.

Let’s look at the typical resume sections.

  • PROFILE
  • QUALIFICATIONS
  • EXPERIENCE
  • CERTIFICATIONS
  • EDUCATION

Notice there is no section for skills. There’s a reason for that. Skills don’t belong in a section of their own. Skills are described within your resume’s Experience section.

Here are three ways you can see the differences between skills and qualifications:

1. Skills are learned — Qualifications are earned

  • a Skill is something you develop, like attention to detail, great communication skills, or the ability to multi task. Skills typically are developed through experience, although sometimes are built-in attributes.
  • a Qualification is something you have earned, like a diploma or degree, a certificate, a license, a document of recognition, a designation, a promotion, or even a superior’s commendation. A qualification is something you pursue.

2. Skills need to be described — Qualifications need only be presented

  • Skills don’t stand on their own the way qualifications do. Skills need to be described so the reader of your resume can see how you applied your skills in previous jobs and what the outcomes were. 
  • Qualifications need only be presented. When you state you are a graduate of a university program or a certificate-holder in a specific field, you don’t need to elaborate on it. Qualifications speak for themselves.

3. Skills are transferable — Qualifications are non-negotiable

  • Skills are the abilities you have developed over the course of a job or a career that will continue to be useful and relevant in a completely different kind of job or career. For example, strong analytical skills you developed as an accountant will be just as necessary when you decide to work in a different industry, say as a computer systems analyst.
  • Qualifications are the credentials you have earned through academia and practical application and typically are relevant only in jobs within a specific discipline. For example, a degree in commerce won’t have much relevance when you decide to change careers and go after a job as a foreman in a fabrication shop.

 

 

 

Job postings often intermingle skills within the Qualifications section, and in those cases you should always follow suit.  If the job posting lists “good communication skills” under Qualifications, then you should respond by listing, under the Qualifications section of your resume, an accomplishment showing how you used your great communication skills. After all, if having great communication skills qualifies you in the employer’s eyes, then give ’em what they want.

Alright all you job-seekers, there it is for today. Remember, since I am an expert resume-writer I can develop a fantastic resume and cover letter for you, so don’t stress! Believe me, there is no shame in getting an expert to write such an important document for you. And, as always, I welcome comments so I can make this blog really useful and helpful to all job-seekers.

Website  |  FaceBook  |  Email  |  Ph: 403.563.0408

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Employers Share Top 3 Complaints About Resumes

Resume writingIn addition to the countless hours I spend conducting research on the Net, I talk and correspond with employers, recruiters, and HR personnel to discover what they like and what they don’t like about the resumes they read. Today I am focusing on what they don’t like. Most of what I hear isn’t surprising — it is usually the same few common complaints over and over, so, I thought I would share those complaints with my readers so they know what to avoid in resume-writing.

#1 Complaint: No Relevance!

Because this is the top complaint, I felt it worthy of an exclamation point. No Relevance! What I hear over and over is that applicants send in resumes exhibiting little or no relevance to the job posting the employer has provided them, and since he or she has precious little time to scour every resume searching for the relevance, the reader just gives up and tosses these vague, non-responsive resumes on the shred pile. I have spoken in my blog articles many times of generic resumes and the dangers of sending them out. This #1 complaint is proof I have given good advice.  If you cannot match your qualifications, work experience, attributes, and skills to those described in the job posting, do not waste your time writing a resume with no relevance to the employer.

#2 Complaint: Laundry-Lists

My younger readers may not be familiar with this term. A laundry-list is what is used to describe a long list of duties, responsibilities, things done, and, what the applicant regards as his or her skills. It looks like this:

  • open and closed store
  • cashed-out
  • made bank deposits
  • entered sales into spreadsheets
  • kept track of inventory
  • customer service
  • cleaned store
  • trained staff
  • good with numbers
  • punctual and reliable

I have been told these laundry-lists are a close second to the #1 complaint, and often are a part of the ‘no-relevance’ complaint because they are meaningless. No description of how these duties were carried out, why they were done, and what the outcomes of these activities resulted in, leaves employers with a “nothing” impression of the applicants who fill their resumes with laundry-lists.

#3 Complaint: Bad Formatting, Spelling, and Grammar

This one does surprise me.  Not because employers are complaining about it, but because it is still happening! With the resources available to even the greenest of word processor users, there is absolutely no reason a resume should go out poorly-formatted full of spelling and grammatical errors. If you aren’t great using computers or word processors, find someone who is!

Alright all you job-seekers, there it is for today. Remember, since I am an expert resume-writer I can develop a fantastic resume and cover letter for you, so don’t stress! Believe me, there is no shame in getting an expert to write such an important document for you. And, as always, I welcome comments so I can make this blog really useful and helpful to all job-seekers.

Website  |  FaceBook  |  Email  |  Ph: 403.563.0408

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Better Advice for a Better Resume

I spend countless hours surfing the Web to see what’s out there in the way of resume-writing advice and today came across several good blog articles. They all say pretty much the same things about what you should do and shouldn’t do to write a good resume and much of it is the same advice I have given, and would give, to job-seekers who want to write their own resumes. So, with all of this good advice out there, complete with step-by-step instruction, do’s and dont’s, and examples, why are folks still writing and sending out bad resumes?

Resume-Writing Advice Isn’t Enough

I know people are writing bad resumes because I see them — people send their resumes to me desperately looking for a re-do. It occurred to me that even with all the good advice, instruction, and direction, there has to be something missing — a universal reason people still struggle to write a good resume. And then I wondered, is it because people just don’t know how to write?

Not write as in ‘read and write’, like literacy, but as in don’t know how to form descriptive sentences that tell a story. I think I might be on to something. I think many people can tell a good story — they just can’t write a good story.

Case in point. I engaged a client in a verbal Q & A during which she launched into a passionate description of what she had done and learned on her various jobs and how she used what she learned on one job to apply to another job and, using descriptive words and explanations, gave me a pretty strong visual representation of her actually doing those things. talking-about-job-experience

Her verbal descriptions were almost eloquent and she became quite animated, physically demonstrating how she carried out her work activities. I prodded her along with my trusty formula, asking: what she did, why she did it, and what the outcomes of her actions were.  Without hesitation, she let loose a verbal barrage that left me with a clear picture depicting her performing those work activities.

Later, I realized, it was not that my client didn’t know what to write on a resume — it was that she didn’t know how to write what was in her head. And I think that is the case for many people.

Better Advice (and maybe a bit of hand-holding) for a Better Resume

Let’s say you are writing your resume for a warehouse worker position. resume-writingYou have some experience so you should be able to tell your story. After all, it happened to you, you experienced it, so let’s see how we can describe your work activities vividly. For example, instead of saying something like, “operated a forklift”, how about something like:

  • Conducted daily safety inspection of forklift prior to operating to verify capacity and mechanical integrity in order to safely and efficiently transport and place pallets and skids within warehouse

I like it! This description tells a little story about what you did, why you did it, and what the outcomes of your actions were, all nicely described in a single sentence.

Check it out:

  • What you did: conducted a safety inspection of the forklift prior to operating it
  • Why you did it: to verify its capacity and mechanical integrity
  • What the outcomes of your actions were: the safe and efficient transport and placement of pallets and skids within the warehouse

It might sound corny, but when you are writing your resume you are writing a story, or lots of little stories. Your writing doesn’t have to be flowery, in fact, it should not be flowery — it should be descriptive.

Check out my article, What Are These “Accomplishments” We’re Supposed to Put on Our Resumes?, to help you get started writing a descriptive resume that tells your story.

Alright all you job-seekers, there it is for today. Remember, since I am an expert resume-writer I can develop a fantastic resume and cover letter for you, so don’t stress! Believe me, there is no shame in getting an expert to write such an important document for you. And, as always, I welcome comments so I can make this blog really useful and helpful to all job-seekers.

Website  |  FaceBook  |  Email  |  Ph: 403.563.0408

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The #1 Way to Get Your Resume Read in 2018

How to Get Your Resume ReadThe #1 way to get your resume read in 2018 is the same as it was in 2017 and the same as it will be in 2019.  “Write for the employer, not for you.”

That means, even though you may be impressed by all of your great skills, qualifications, attributes, and work experience, do not make the mistake of thinking a potential employer will be as impressed. He won’t.

On your resume, list only what the employer is looking for, not what you think will impress him. Write for the employer, not for you.

If you’ve stopped in at GoResumePro.ca, you might recall reading my blunt commentary on resume-writing: “It’s not rocket science — it’s common sense…”

Perhaps it isn’t fair to suggest it takes only common sense to write a fantastic resume.  Perhaps what I should have said is: “It’s not rocket science — it’s a discovery”.

I mean, you don’t know what you don’t know, right? So, I am going to help you discover how to write for the employer so your resume will get read and probably even get you  invited to an interview. Then, I’ll give you a great tip to help you get started writing an amazingly-fantastic resume you won’t believe you wrote yourself!  So, what is…

The #1 Way to Get Your Resume Read in 2018?

Answer: Copy the Job Posting!

Seriously. That is the answer — copy the job posting — the job posting is your golden ticket!

Often, when a company prepares to fill a position, everyone from the company-owner, to the HR manager, to at least one other employee (usually from the department in which the position needs to be filled), puts a lot of collaborative brainstorming into developing the job description. What they eventually come up with is lists of skills, requirements, and qualifications their ideal applicants will meet. Some job postings are a mile long, and that’s a good thing! Thanks to the company’s collaborative efforts in writing a detailed and descriptive job posting, your job is easy!

Great Tip: Use Words from the Job Posting

Back in the day it was referred to as “skills matching”. Nowadays, with so many companies using ATSs, it’s more about peppering your resume with the key words and phrases used in the job posting. Although I implied earlier you should ‘copy the job posting’, I don’t mean “copy”  word-for-word — I mean grab key words and phrases from the job posting to use in your descriptions, not as your descriptions. Here’s an example:

Job Posting for an Administrative Assistant

  • operate multi-line telephone system with high call retention
  • use MS Office Suite to compile documents, publications, and spreadsheets
  • manage executives calendars, meetings, and appointments in Outlook

Resume for an Administrative Assistant

  • competently operated a 12-line telephone system successfully retaining and redirecting up to 100 calls per day in-house and remotely
  • used extensive knowledge of MS Office Suite to compose and compile a high volume of error-free executive-level documents and company publications
  • maintained complex company-designed spreadsheets to closely track the movement of inventories of six separate departments
  • scheduled and amended meetings and appointments for four executives using Outlook Calendars and the full compliment of its features

In the above examples, see how the highlighted words in the job posting are “copied” on the resume? They are incorporated, naturally, as a part of the applicant’s real work experience and that is precisely what the employer is looking for. Whether it is an ATS scanning your resume or human eye balls, it is those key words and phrases that get noticed.

Give Them What They Want

They’ve gone to the trouble to show you what they are looking for, so you must go to the trouble to show them you have what they are looking for!  Use their words to fill out descriptions of your skills, abilities, and work experience. And by the way, work experience is now called “accomplishments”.  Check out my article, What are These Accomplishments We’re Supposed to Put on Our Resumes?

I have always said, and will continue to say — never, ever send out generic resumes. If you seriously want a certain job then you seriously must customize your resume to get that job. Write for the employer, not for you. The way to do that is to use the words in the job posting. You know you have the skills and experience to be considered for the job, so use the words the hiring people used to show them you have what they want!

Alright all you job-seekers, there it is for today. Remember, since I am an expert resume-writer I can develop a fantastic resume and cover letter for you, so don’t stress! Believe me, there is no shame in getting an expert to write such an important document for you. And, as always, I welcome comments so I can make this blog really useful and helpful to all job-seekers.

Did I help you to see the difference between writing for the employer and writing for you? I’d love to hear your feedback!

Thanks for your time today!

Website  FaceBook  Email  Ph: 403.563.0408

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