Originally published at http://www.beyond.com/articles/overcome-the-lack-of-skills-18365-article.html.
As you look for your next job, you need to start with an effective strategy to find the best possible match. This means checking out available positions in your area of expertise, examining the pay rates, looking over the job description, and evaluating whether you have a skills gap between what you know and what the employer needs.
It’s an awful feeling: your experience and education match well, but as you take stock of the skills needed for the job you want, you notice that you have a skills gap in one area. Don’t panic if you see that you lack one particular skill posted to a job description. It’s likely to take a few weeks before a company starts to verify the information on your resume, and that’s only after the job posting closes. You have some time to learn what you need, if you’re determined.
Consider what you must do to obtain the necessary requirements. A quick Internet search on “how do I learn to ____” should produce results on the topic you desire, and if you’re lucky, a video may explain the required technique in just an hour or two. Other areas of expertise require some hands-on training. If you need special tools to acquire a skill, you’ll need to order from an online store with rush shipping. The sooner you start filling the skills gap, the better, especially if this is a job you really want.
Determine the best approach to obtaining the skill. Self-study with online courses, books and materials may help, and sometimes you may be able to take a short class at a local community college. Job shadowing and on-the-job training are also possibilities. Narrow your skills gap carefully so you learn the correct way to perform a particular job duty.
Check out government programs that help train employees for specific companies or industries. See if any apprenticeship programs may help. Before you embark on a long-term educational opportunity, explain to the potential employer that you are in the midst of increasing that particular aspect of your skill set, and lay out your plan for filling the gap.
Once you obtain the skill, show your employer how you went about doing so. You may explain the process in a cover letter, provide a transcript of the class, or print out a certificate of completion from an online course.
The bottom line is that narrowing your skills gap shows your prospective employer that you mean business. You already meet most of the necessary requirements, so ask your potential boss which skills are most important to the company. Let that person know that you plan to broaden your horizons immediately if you lack any important factors.
Just because you lack one desirable skill doesn’t make you an undesirable candidate. Sometimes, just showing your prospective employer that you want to narrow your skills gap gives the HR department the heads up that you mean business when it comes to landing a new position.
* * *
Do you have an interview coming soon? Are you afraid you don’t have all of the necessary qualifications? Do you feel unqualified? Do you need help in highlighting your skills and your capacity to transition to a new position? If so, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services. If you are interested in learning more about finance and accounting industry opportunities, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group. Or, if you are interested in attorney or other roles in the legal industry, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.