Tips & Tricks – Linking Your Competencies and Skills To A Potential Job

Understanding the skills or competencies potential employers are seeking is not only key but the first step in laying out you application / cover letter when it comes to making successful applications and performing well at interviews. During the interview, it is prudent that you not only cite the competencies that you possess, but go a step further and cite examples of how you have applied those competencies and how they have transitioned to success or improved programming for an organization or business venture. This approach is more likely than not to show that you have the skills that the interviewers require as you are more likely to convince them of your strategic merit and ability to do the job.

Relating your skills to the post
Upon having studied the post that you are applying for, you will have a clear picture of what the organization you are applying to wants in the person who is to be the position holder. For further clarity, you can go a step further to study what the organization does - this can be through its website, social media platform or newsletters where applicable. 

For instance, you may be responding to an advert by “Organization A” that is looking for a Program Officer .....The advertisement can read as; “We’re looking for a hard-working, proactive and creative person to take up the position of a Program Officer to join our busy team”. Here ‘hard working’ indicates they want someone who is committed and determined, and ‘busy team’ infers that the candidate will certainly need to need to be a good team player. ‘Proactive’ projects that they are looking for someone who is self-driven while ‘creative’ means they want someone who easily comes up with concepts that can be applied or deliberated on.

Identifying your inherent or practiced skills
It’s important to think about your skills before you start job hunting. For instance, looking at a job description and seeing the word “leadership skills required” can be mind boggling. However, you don’t have to be an elected or any other kind of leader in any context. Think through your experiences carefully when you look at skills required in a role such as this and relate them. In response to such an advert, consider what you have done in the past - professionally or otherwise. 

For instance, if you helped a group reach a decision or complete a task, or have taken the initiative to mobilize resources for an project this would require skills for leadership, such as; careful communication, listening, focus and patience. 

Provided you have some volunteering, work experience and extra-curricular activities, you are very likely to be able to answer the question above with a confident. If you don’t have work experience on your CV, make an appointment with a career consultant or mentor. It’s never too late!

Showing that you possess the skills
First it is important to understand what is meant by each of the skills the recruiter is looking for. Then think of ways to provide them with specific evidence to show that you have these skills. The table below gives two examples of how you could do this. It explains the general meaning behind particular skills and shows ways of providing evidence of this skill in your application. 

Note: These are not to be tabulated as such in your application note, rather write them in narrative or as a story as this is just a guide.

Skill
What does this mean
Example of Evidence
Leadership
§ Leading a team
§ Effective delegation & motivation
§ Encouraging input from others
§ Effective prioritization
Leading and motivating youth groups to lead social accountability efforts in their community.
Team Work
§ Championing for team goals over individual goals
§ Being aware of the needs of others and responding flexibly
§ sharing information and ideas, and supporting team members to achieve goals 
Encouraging members to take on a individual roles on a project to finish on a project in time and qualitatively

Lastly, every job role requires a different set of technical and/or transferable skills. When you are choosing which job you would like to do, it is helpful to identify both your interests and your skills and see whether they fit well with those the job role typically requires.

For instance, if you enjoy team work you probably want to avoid a job where you will do the majority of work on your own. If you tend to need time to think and process information, a job where you have to respond quickly to situations could be very daunting.

If you can identify what skills you are particularly good at then, as you explore different types of job, you can see which roles maximize using your skills, that will suit you and you will enjoy.

Good Luck!

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