Skills vs. Qualifications. The Difference & Why it Matters to Know.




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

Why does it matter to know the difference between your qualifications and your skills? After all, a lot of job postings intermingle skills within their Qualifications section, so even when you do know the difference between a skill and a qualification, will it matter when you are writing your resume? Yes, it will matter, and here’s why.

Qualifications are far more important to an employer than skills. Even though they may thrown in some of their ‘wish-list’ skills in their Qualifications section, what employers and recruiters are looking for, first-and-foremost, are your qualifications. And that is why you must know the difference between qualifications and skills and present your qualifications up front and clearly. Your skills come later in your resume, under your Experience section, because it is through your job experiences that you gained and developed your skills.

Qualifications are like credentials — they are what they are and don’t need to be explained. If you have earned your pilot’s license, you are a qualified pilot. Skills, on the other hand, are like traits — they aren’t verified by a document that says you took a course and have demonstrated competence.

Here are some ways you can determine what your skills are versus what your qualifications are.

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 are developed through job experience, although some might simply be your own built-in attributes.
  • a Qualification is something you have earned, like a diploma or a 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 with focused intent.

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 gained your skills and applied them in previous jobs. 
  • 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 job-specific

  • 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 earned through academia and practical application, or, through developing high knowledge, competence, and authority in a particular field or discipline. 

Knowing the difference between your skills and your qualifications will help you write better resumes, and, will help you determine the jobs you have a shot at and those you probably don’t. In terms of skills, you may check every box, but if you don’t have the qualifications the employer is looking for — a degree, a minimum five years, training in a particular software, etc., don’t waste your time — skill takes a back seat to qualifications. Qualifications are always more important than skills, and knowing the difference between the two will help you narrow your employment options down to those you have a real chance at.

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.

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1 Response to Skills vs. Qualifications. The Difference & Why it Matters to Know.

  1. Pingback: The Top 7 Resume Winners | Resume Pro

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