Many job seekers worry about having the right education or experience for the roles they're applying for. But new data from LinkedIn, whose parent company is Microsoft (MSFT 2.90%), shows that your skills may be the single most important consideration for employers deciding whether to hire you.
In conjunction with the recent launch of its new skill assessment tool, LinkedIn discovered that 83% of employers agree that skills and credentials are becoming more important in the course of hiring talent. That's good news for workers who possess lots of skills but perhaps lack years of job experience or even a formal degree -- something employers often mandate.
Employees feel similarly about showcasing their skills -- 69% think that verified skills are more important than a college education for seeking new job opportunities. Unfortunately, 52% of employees feel that their skills have been overlooked during past hiring processes.
If you're a skill-heavy job candidate, it pays to make that as obvious as possible to potential employers. Here's how.
1. Be strategic on your resume
Your resume offers a great opportunity to showcase the job skills you possess. But don't just list the skills you have; show prospective employers how you've used them in the past. It's one thing to state that you have strong project management skills, but it's another thing to highlight the fact that in the past year, you successfully managed three different high-profile projects that resulted in an uptick in revenue for your company.
2. Get certified
Getting certified in a specific skill takes time and money. And you must often take steps to maintain that credential after you secure it, like attending yearly seminars or signing up for online courses. But if you're looking to open up your job prospects, that effort may be more than worth it. By obtaining a professional certification, you're effectively proving to employers that you're as strong in a certain skill as you claim to be.
3. Ask for endorsements
A good way to prove that you're proficient in key skills is to ask other people to vouch for that fact. If you have a LinkedIn profile, ask your professional contacts to endorse you for the specific skills you're trying to emphasize.
4. Craft a compelling cover letter
Your cover letter can serve as a prime opportunity to introduce yourself to potential employers and explain what you bring to the table. You can use your cover letter to showcase the skills you want recruiters and hiring managers to know about. For example, if you're really strong on attention to detail, you can discuss the fact that you're the person everyone at your current job seeks out for last-minute proofreading and quality control. And if you're excellent at communication, you can mention that your boss recently put you in charge of your company newsletter.
The skills you cultivate could be your ticket to the job of your dreams. Make sure to clearly convey what those are, and back up your claims, to increase your chances of landing the offers you're after.