Skill vs Credential: What You Need to Know

Skill vs Credential: What You Need to Know

In recent times, employers have been valuing a job candidate’s skills more than anything else. A labor shortage has made companies shift from requiring high levels of education and years of experience to evaluating the skill level of a prospect. It’s important for all job seekers to understand how skills compare to credentials and to learn how to showcase their skills over education or job history.

How Do Skills and Credentials Compare?

It’s difficult to compare skills and credentials on a resume because the categories aren’t mutually exclusive. Typically, credentials refer to a combination of the skills, strengths, and experience that are relevant to a job listing.

At times, having certain credentials gives you some of the skills you need to perform a job well. But there’s no guarantee that an individual with the required credentials has all the skills they need to be a great hire.

Skills Matter More

This is one of the reasons why employers have shifted from focusing only on credentials to looking more at skills. If they hire someone who doesn’t have the right skills to succeed, one of two situations will occur. The employee will either quit because they’re not cut out for the job or they’ll be fired. In either scenario, the company needs to go through the lengthy and costly hiring process once again.

In this day and age, there are multiple ways for a person to obtain skills. For instance, someone who started up their own small business could be just as adept at social media marketing as someone who worked as a social media assistant for a company. And thanks to the fact that there are countless free and paid programs for people to learn certain skills, someone can obtain a set of skills without ever working in the industry.

Micro-credentials are a popular trend right now. In a long weekend or online seminar, you can obtain skills and certifications that help you meet an employer’s requirements. In fact, an employer might value one of your micro-credentials over someone else’s college education or job history.

How to Capitalize on Your Skills

Due to the fact that skills matter so much in the workforce, you should take measures to highlight your skills during the job search. Here are a few ways you can capitalize on the current situation:

Find the Best Skills for the Job

An employer doesn’t want to read through a laundry list of skills. Instead, they want to see skills that relate to their vacant position. Before you send in your resume, think about what skills the hiring manager wants to see. Then, write down all of the skills that you have. Pick the common skills, and include those on your resume.

Even though other credentials don’t matter as much as the skills, you should still take the same approach. Include all of the details that pertain to the job listing. If you’re applying for a job as a salesperson, pick the education, jobs, and achievements that relate the most to the position.

Be Very Specific

One common mistake job seekers make is to be too vague on their resumes. When you’re talking about your skills, be as specific as possible. Talk about how you used your skills in a previous role so the hiring manager can understand how the skill set can carry over.

A hiring manager doesn’t automatically see the connection between one job and their open position. For instance, you may have worked at a grocery store. The hiring manager is unlikely to be familiar with the many different roles you played while in the position. It’s up to you to provide the exact skills you obtained and relate them to the job listing.

You should never assume that a hiring manager will connect the dots. Although you might think that it’s obvious how one skill translates to a role, the hiring manager could be looking at hundreds of applications. Make the correlation as apparent as possible,

Highlight Your Educational Skills

If you’re relatively new to the workforce, don’t hesitate to use experiences from high school or college to show your skills. It’s important for a hiring manager to see that you don’t need on-the-job experience to perform the job well. If you did any sports or clubs, they might have been an opportunity to gain skills.

As long as the skills relate to the job, you can include them on your resume. With that said, you should avoid using school activities on your resume if you have a great deal of experience. Hiring managers prefer recent experiences to ones from decades ago.

Pull from Parallel Jobs

Since direct experience is less important than skills, you should feel free to pull skills from jobs that aren’t exactly the same as the ones you’re applying for. If a job is parallel in some way, you can use it to highlight your skills.

Employers are more open than ever to hiring people from different industries. As long as you can transfer the skills from your previous job to this one, you can include them on your resume.

Applying for Jobs Even if You Don’t Meet the Requirements

If you see a job that looks perfect, don’t let a lack of experience or education keep you from applying. As long as you have the skills to succeed, you should try applying for it. With the current market being in favor of job seekers, you’re likely to skirt the requirements.

There are some exceptions to this. For instance, you might need a graduate degree to become a therapist. Even if a company wanted to hire you based on your skills, they can’t ignore the basic requirements. You should be realistic when applying for jobs. Stop and ask yourself if it really is necessary for you to have a certain degree or level of experience. If you think your skills make up for it, then apply anyway.

For most job seekers, skill-based hiring opens up new doors. You can update your resume to showcase your skills and go for a job that requires more education or experience than you have.

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