As a student you are learning a lot in the classroom. From technical knowledge related to your major, to transferable skills like problem solving and collaboration, your degree program is preparing you to enter the workforce. As you engage in internships, volunteering, and student leadership roles, you put these skills and knowledge to use in ways that are of interest to potential future employers. Being able to effectively communicate what you are able to offer will be key to your successful job search.
In a recent article series published in Eye on Psi Chi, an online magazine for members of the national honor society for psychology students, I wrote about the importance of being able to identify and put language around your skills. The Career Center offers a card sort activity, called SkillScan, in both one-on-one advising and workshop formats that focuses on transferable skills.
SkillScan, described at length in the first article, helps you prioritize the skills you would like to use in the future, separating them from those of less interest and those that you are certain you would not like to use. An activity like this is valuable as you work to identify the industry and career path you wish to target for yourself. From there, your career counselor or workshop facilitator will guide you in identifying strong examples of times when you have successfully employed the skills you wish to use in the future. He or she will also help you to think critically about those skills you need to develop further and/or exemplify through future coursework, volunteer activities, internships, and part-time work. To complete a SkillScan assessment, attend the “Identify Your Skills and Accomplishments” workshop on May 2, 2016 or contact the Career Center to schedule an appointment with your advisor.
Once you have identified the skills you wish to perform in the workplace, you must hone your ability to convey these to potential employers. The second article in the Eye on Psi Chi series addresses the art of communicating your skills through strategic resume writing. Crafting bulleted accomplishment statements that strike the right balance between offering sufficient detail and being concise enough to allow your reader to quickly grasp the skills you offer, can be a challenge. The Career Center’s Peer Career Advisor program offers walk-in resume development and critique sessions to help you ensure your resume will grab employers’ attention, and land you the interview you are after.
My advice to you when it comes to communicating your skills:
Emphasize the skills you wish to use and further develop in your next position when crafting your resume. Also, be concrete by offering examples of times when you’ve used those skills and be sure to note the positive outcomes that resulted from your efforts.
A future article in Eye on Psi Chi will feature tips for continuing your efforts to communicate skills to employers by providing tips and best practices for helping you to succeed in the interview process. Stay tuned for more details!