Three Skills Job Seekers Need

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Searching for a new job is never easy. Even if you already have a job, finding the job that's right for you takes a whole lot of time, hard work and perseverance. When you're out of work and looking, it gets even more difficult. One of the biggest problems that job seekers face is that the longer they are out of work, the more likely their skills will get rusty or they will have a large gap in employment that they will have to explain to prospective employers, making it more difficult to land the job they really want.

To combat this, many job seekers opt to take some college courses or pursue advanced training in order to have the skills that are in demand in their field. This makes sense if you work in a field where a new certification could qualify you for a better job, but what do you do when you are already as qualified as you can be?

Even if you have all of the training and certification you need to be a well-qualified candidate in your field, there are still some skills you can learn while you're out of work that will help you stand out and increase your chances of getting the job you want. Here are 3 skills every job seeker can benefit from:

Acting Classes: You don't have to be an actor, or even someone who wants to be on stage in order to benefit from acting classes. What's even better is that it's simple to find an acting class that fits your needs. Most community colleges offer courses in acting and there are many other workshops and improv groups that you could get involved with. Acting helps to build confidence and can teach you how to use your body language and facial expressions to communicate, not just your voice. During an interview, having some acting experience can really help you by keeping your nervousness under wraps and allowing you to show your professionalism, enthusiasm and poise, even if you're secretly freaking out inside. Another great thing about taking acting classes is that they challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. This makes it easier to take risks in other areas of your life. Not only does acting help build confidence, it's great fun and it's a way to meet new people.

Public Speaking: Being able to express yourself under pressure or when everyone is paying attention is skill. Not many of us are born with a talent for public speaking, but fortunately, it's a skill that's easily learned. There are many ways to become a better public speaker. You could find books about the topic at your local library or search for a public speaking group like Toastmasters. Speaking in public is an extremely common fear, right next to the fear of flying or of spiders, so if you aren't comfortable in the spotlight, taking a class could really help. Even if you don't think that you would have the occasion to make a speech, being comfortable talking while under scrutiny is a skill you'll really need during interviews. What's even better, it can help you even after you've gotten the job because you'll be more comfortable in situation where you need to make a presentation to a client or even your boss.

Networking and Self-Improvement: There are many books that can help you become a better professional, and they are available for free at your local library. Books like Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People is still a classic and has some great tips on presenting yourself in the best light possible. Most of these books have great tips about networking more effectively. As you read through the books, look for ways to practice the things you've read to become more familiar with them. Make a list of the things that you view as weaknesses or things you'd like to improve and find books that can help. Just because you aren't working right now doesn't mean that you should stop growing and learning new things.

These skills aren't the ones that are advertised in most job listings, but they can help you make a great impression, build better rapport and become a more skilled professional. In addition, they give you a great opportunity to explain what you are doing with your time out of work in a way that shows an employer that you are someone who is always growing and challenging themselves. If you've been having trouble getting the jobs you really want, why not give them a shot?

Image source: Morguefile


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  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    @Andrew - Thanks for re-tweeting my article! You're the best! I agree that fitting into the corporate culture is crucial. Working at a job that isn't right for you is often a disaster of epic proportions.
  • Andrew
    Harry, great article and one that I immediately retweeted.  The best job seeker understands that they are more than just a resume.  Who you know, the connections you've made, and the interpersonal and communication skills you've picked up along the way are just as important (if not more so) than your purely technical skills for a particular job.  Having a positive attitude and fitting into the culture of a company can not be underestimated by job seekers or recruiters.
  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks for the great comments. Keeping your skills sharp is the best way to be prepared when the right opportunity comes along.
  • GUY B
    GUY B
  •  Danielle W
    Danielle W
    Although these are things many out-of-work pros know, it's always good to refresh yourself with tried and true activities. My public speaking skills have been valuable to me over the years.We must always be willing to learn.

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