How to Develop New Skills to Boost Your Job Search

Day 3 of 30 Days to Your Dream Job

Young woman in cafe working on laptop
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Today's task is about recognizing and improving upon your weaknesses to become a more ideal job candidate. This involves learning new skills and gaining additional experience and education to increase your chances of getting the job you've always wanted.

Determining Skills and Requirements

To begin, research the skills and requirements for your ideal job. Look at online job listings or speak to people who work in the industry. Once you have the information, list the most common skills, experience, and education requirements for your dream job.

Skills Strategy for Getting a Job

Your dream job can become a reality by following a few simple steps:

  1. List the skills and requirements for your dream job.
  2. Select one or two skills to develop.
  3. Add the skills to your resume.
  4. Use the skills during job interviews.

Learning New Skills

You cannot realistically acquire all of the skills and experience of your dream job in 30 days. However, select one or two specific credentials you are lacking, and make an effort to develop those skills.

For example, if you lack knowledge in a particular computer program, but it is a requirement for your dream job, sign up for a free or inexpensive online course, such as a massive open online course (MOOC), that will help you develop that skill.

edX is a global nonprofit education website that provides courses for those interested in learning new skills. Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX provides courses to more than 20 million learners, top-ranked universities, and industry-leading companies. The organization aims to remove the barriers of cost, location, and access to make learning more attainable. 

If you cannot find an online course that fits your needs or if you do not like taking online courses, look to your local public library, adult education program, or community college to see if they offer free or inexpensive courses on such topics.

Adding Skills to Your Resume

Once you begin learning new skills, you can add them to your resume. For example, if you are learning to use WordPress, you can list it in the skills section of your resume, noting the name of the course you are taking and the expected completion date.

Even improving upon one weakness in your credentials can make you a much stronger candidate during the hiring process.

Demonstrating Your New Knowledge

If an interviewer expresses concern with, for example, your lack of a particular foreign language, you can explain that you are currently taking a course to develop that ability and perhaps provide a few examples of what you've learned.

This will not only demonstrate that you are working toward having the skills required for that job, but also that you have such an interest in the job that you are willing to learn a recommended skill to increase your chances of getting hired. Employers will appreciate your enthusiasm and willingness to become better qualified.

Bottom Line

Determining what you really want to do and obtaining the necessary qualifications and skills can increase your chances of getting hired and boost your job choices. Even if you are already employed, it is a good idea to keep your skills current by taking advantage of learning opportunities in your workplace. This can further your career through advancement to more senior positions within your company or with other firms.