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Workforce Wednesday: Developing Your Skills

A job search can be a lot like dating. Just ask Napoleon Dynamite: To get a date you need skills.

Likewise, to get a job you need skills. Ask yourself: Do my skills and experience match what employers are looking for? Skills can be learned in a variety of settings: employment, life experience, education, hobbies and volunteering. If you're looking for employment or a change in careers you will need to identify your skills as they relate to specific jobs. Doing so can help you stand out from the crowd and give you a better chance of securing that better job you've been looking for.

Here are some of the types of skills you should identify for yourself before you start perusing the job boards:

  • Transferable Skills — Skills you have obtained that are relevant or transferable to a specific position.
  • Soft Skills — Employment traits that help an employer decide if your temperament suits a particular job (e.g., problem-solving, organization, time management, teamwork, communication). 
  • Job Skills — Specific abilities related to a job or occupation, often listed in combination with transferrable skills and workplace behaviors in an employer’s job posting.

Once you have created a master skills list, you can start matching your skills to what different employers are looking for. Pay close attention to skills that are required or preferred, then emphasize the skills you have in your resume and cover letter and during your interview.


Check out our SmartStart guide to help learn how to identify and develop your workplace skills and then use them to land your dream job. Also, visit Utah Futures for more free resources to help you in your job search.


*Every Wednesday, Workforce Services takes a special look at issues or initiatives that affect Utah's workforce. Hop on Twitter to follow the latest innovations that help Utahns take their careers to the next level: #WorkforceWednesday