About Job-Specific Skills
Job-specific skills are those abilities that allow a candidate for employment to excel in a particular job. Some skills are attained by attending school or training programs. Others can be acquired through experiential learning on the job. The skills that are needed for a specific job are also known as a skill set.
When hiring, employers will usually include the skill set required to be able to perform the job in the job posting. The applicants who most closely match the required skills will have the best chance of getting selected for a job interview.
Read below for examples of job-specific skills, tips for identifying job-specific skills, and advice on how to match your skills and experience to those required for a job.
Job-Specific Skills Examples
Job-specific skills vary based on the position. For example, a CPA needs to have auditing skills, teachers need lesson planning skills, architects need CAD (computer-aided design) skills, construction workers need to know how to use a variety of tools, and hair stylists must know hair coloring techniques.
Job-Specific Skills vs. Transferable Skills
Job-specific skills can be contrasted with transferable skills like communication, organization, presentation, teamwork, planning, and time management, which are required in a broad array of jobs. Transferable skills are those that you use for almost every job. Employability skills are also the skills and traits necessary to succeed in every job.
Certain transferable skills will be valued more highly for some occupations than others. For example, consultants need strong presentation skills and lawyers need solid research skills. However, these transferable skills shouldn't be confused with job-specific skills since they represent general areas of ability valued in a wide cross-section of jobs.
In contrast, job-specific skills are skills required for a particular job. They might be completely unnecessary for other jobs but are critical for that job. For example, being able to operate a power saw is a job-specific skill for a carpenter, but not for many other jobs.
Often, job-specific skills are hard skills, which are quantifiable or easily teachable skills. Transferable skills are more often soft skills. These are more subjective skills, often related to your personality and behavior, particularly how you interact with others.
How to Identify Job-Specific Skills
When applying for a job, you want to know the job-specific skills required for the position, so that you can emphasize your related skills and abilities. You can typically find job-specific skills within the job posting. Often there is a section of the job listing titled “Required Skills” or “Qualifications” that includes job-specific skills. Here is advice on how to decode a job posting. You can also look up similar job postings to get a sense of the required skills for the position. Finally, check out this list of job-specific skills for many different jobs.
How to Match Your Skills to Job-Specific Skills
When applying for a job, identify the job-specific skills for the position. Make a list of these skills. Then, look at each skill and think about how you can prove you have that asset. Think about work experience you have that has helped you develop each skill.
Include these skills in your resume. You might even have sections on your resume that list all your experiences developing a specific skill. For example, if you are applying for a job as an editor, you might have a section in your resume titled “Editing Experience.” You can also emphasize these skills on your LinkedIn profile.
Also, emphasize the job-specific skills you have in your cover letter. Use keywords from the job listing, and provide specific examples of times you demonstrated or developed each skill. Prepare to discuss these skills, and your experience in developing these skills, in every job interview.
Before an interview, review your cover letter and resume, and make sure you can answer questions about times you have demonstrated each skill. For more tips on the best way to show that you're a strong match for a job, review these tips for matching your qualifications for a job description.
What to Do If You’re Missing a Skill
If you are missing a critical job-related skill, this does not mean you can’t apply for the job. One option is to begin to develop that skill right away. For example, if you need experience coding, you might take a free coding class online. You can then list that course in your resume and cover letter, and mention it in your interview.
You can also emphasize in your resume, cover letter, and interview that you are a fast learner, and provide examples of this. This might help convince the employer that you can quickly develop that missing skill set.