When you’re looking for a new job, you probably head to job boards, pop in your current title (or the title you’d like to have), see what results sound interesting, then apply accordingly. Likewise, if you reach out to your network about leads, you probably use a job title to describe what you’re looking for in your next position.
But what if you approached your job search differently? Instead of searching for a job title, what if you inventoried the skills you already possess, then found jobs that match your skill set?
Identifying your skills (along with what you enjoy doing) could lead you to jobs, industries, and career paths you never realized are a perfect fit for you.
Determining which skills you already possess to find matching jobs requires a different technique compared to a “regular” job search. So, we asked the FlexJobs Career Coaching team for their expert tips and tricks.
1. Take an Assessment
A clear idea of the skills you possess can help you better determine what jobs match those skills. And, as Capozzoli explains, having a solid understanding of your skill set “builds confidence when you begin exploring options and helps you generate keywords to use when searching job boards.”
2. Ask Around
Another great way to identify your skills is to ask a supervisor or coworker what they think your top three strengths are. As Betsy Andrews points out, “At times, we can be blind to where we shine in others’ eyes because what they notice about us comes naturally, and we may carry the incorrect assumption that it comes naturally to others. Learning what others think you’re great at may generate more ideas for key skills to use in your search.”
3. Get a Little Social
While social media can be a useful tool in your job search, so can being social with family, friends, and other trusted individuals.
Just like you ask your boss or coworkers what they think your top skills are, ask your personal network the same question. You might be surprised to learn what they think, and their answers could help you find an entirely different set of skills that could prove useful in your job search.
Toni Frana explains that asking your friends and family what they think you’re good at can help you “identify and brainstorm roles or jobs that you wouldn’t have otherwise considered.”
4. Identify Transferable Skills
Along with your hard skills, don’t forget about your transferable skills too. Whether you’re making a career change, a lateral move, or the next step on the career ladder, transferable skills can help you move from one job to the next, no matter what it is.
For example, if you use the JobScan tool, you’ll receive a list of job ideas. “This allows you to expand your search options based on your existing skills. Make note of the titles that interest you and then search for them.”
5. Conduct Informational Interviews
Once you’ve identified your skills and what jobs might fit those skills, tap into your network. Ask if anyone is in or knows someone in the industries you’re looking at and is willing to have an informational interview with you.
“Learning how people with similar skills have been successful in their job search or career can help you hone in on why positions might be a fit for you,” Capozzoli says. “It’s a great way to strengthen your knowledge base while gaining valuable job searching tips and tricks.”
6. Search by Skill
With a list of skills and jobs that fit them, it’s time to start your search. Rachel Adkins advises job seekers to enter their job skills using advanced search options instead of the job title. “This will populate results that include those skills in the job posting,” she explains. “The good thing about searching this way is it may provide you with ideas for jobs you might never have thought of before that fit your skills.”
7. Try Some Hustle
If taking an assessment isn’t in the cards for you, and you aren’t getting many helpful results by asking around, try generating a list of your skills by examining your hobbies and passions. You may be surprised by what you come up with.
Once you have that list, consider testing out those skills with a part-time gig to see what happens. As Frana says, “If you have a particular hobby, see if using skills you’ve developed from them leads to interesting full-time job opportunities.”
8. Pick a (Temporary) Season
Another great way to test your skills is through a temporary or seasonal role. “It can help you decide if the job would be a good fit long-term and help you gain experience while building on your current skills,” says Frana.
Success in any career requires a mix of hard, soft, and transferable skills. The good news is that if you lack any skills you think you might need for a new job, you can always learn them. What’s more, you may be surprised at what skills you already have and how they’ve prepared you to take the next step in your career.