Friday, May 25, 2012

Overlooking Skills Gained Outside of Work

During a job search, it may be easy to identify and communicate skills you have gained in the workplace, but what about skills you’ve gained outside of work. Many people overlook everyday-life skills they’ve developed at home or through participation in hobbies, clubs and organizations, or volunteer work.

Whether you’re currently employed, looking to change jobs, or re-entering the workforce, it is a good idea to broaden your scope when creating your skills inventory. This inventory should be something you can easily reference when needed, for example, when updating your resume or interviewing for a job.

Below are a few common scenarios and highlighted skills that may apply to the workplace.

Stay-at-home Parenting

If you’ve been a stay-at-home parent and never given a second thought to the skills you’re gaining, think again. Raising children translates to caregiver. Managing your family’s budget develops general accounting and budget management skills. Handling several tasks successfully on any given day, and often simultaneously, demonstrates time management and multitasking abilities.

Volunteer Work

Volunteer work is a great way to use existing skills and learn new ones. For example, if you volunteer your time tutoring children, you are developing teaching skills. By working with a non-profit organization to build homes, you cultivate construction skills. Raising money for your local church or school provides fundraising experience.

Hobbies or Interests

Writing your own blog posts hones communication skills. Similarly, if you find yourself answering technology questions and fixing computers for friends and family, you may have a technical aptitude that is highly sought in the workplace.

These ideas provide a starting point. Now make time to think about and professionally position the invaluable skills you have gained outside the workplace.

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