Imagine you’re applying for the role of a UX Designer to help build a new application for an organization. You don’t have a background in user experience, but you’ve done a crash course in graphic design and HTML. Now, if the employer is looking for someone who has hands-on experience in UX, he will find a significant gap between what you have to offer and what the organization needs. This gap is known as a skills gap.
It’s common to send out resumes to multiple organizations as long as one or two job requirements match our skills. However, employers may want someone who can bolster their workflow with specific skills.
Trying your luck by applying to multiple organizations, irrespective of whether your skills match the job requirement, may be counter-productive. Instead, identifying your skills and picking the right organizations will increase your chances of success. After all, you can’t really apply for the role of a software developer with a degree in art history.
Let’s look at how you can bridge the skills gaps by presenting your best self to a potential employer.
Skills Gaps At The Workplace
The meaning of skills gaps or a competency gap is the mismatch between an employer’s requirements and an employee’s skill set. There’s no one reason for a skills gap. But it can be reduced with proper training to familiarize new employees with how the organization works, the team dynamics and the technical side of things.
Every employee comes from a different background. Even if they have the required skills, settling in a new environment requires time and effort. Getting acquainted with an organization’s work style is a gradual process. So, if employers recognize the skills gaps, they can take active measures to reduce it.
As a prospective employee, you can identify where your strengths lie and apply for roles that suit your profile. It’s important to align your goals with the organization’s goals. Let’s explore some ways to address the skills gap as a potential employee.
Ways To Bridge Skills Gaps
The most important thing is to accept that there is, in fact, a gap. If you keep applying for roles that don’t match your skill set, you may end up with a pile of rejection letters. Here are some ways to reduce the competency gap when applying for new jobs and even when you are already working for someone.
Define Your Goals
Before you even start looking at job vacancies, you should define what you want to achieve. Going in without a career plan can be confusing and overwhelming. Write down your short-term and long-term goals, identify the right industry and choose an organization that can foster your skills.
Ask yourself why you want to apply for a particular role. Building self-awareness is more than just introspection. It’s about being accountable for your decisions. If you’re applying to an organization, you should have a reason. Many interviewers like to ask “why us?” during the hiring process. Knowing the answer to this question can make or break your interview. Do your research and find out the organization’s mission and goals to see if you can relate to them.
Assess Your Work Style
The kind of workplace you envision for yourself depends on the organization’s work culture and values. It may be a traditional hierarchical setup if you prefer a top-down management style. Or, it may be an informal organizational structure with a horizontal management style.
Identify Your Character Strengths
A great way to bridge the skills gap as an employee is to identify your character strengths. You can do this with the VIA character strengths survey. These are foundational skills that are often overlooked. But with the VIA character strengths survey, you can discover who you are. The survey has 24 strengths, including kindness, courage, teamwork, humility and empathy. You can work at refining these strengths to improve your performance.
Improve Your Skills
If you’re good at something, use it. Suppose you have excellent communication skills. This can help you in client-facing roles like sales and marketing. Improving your skills will also give you an advantage in the hiring process. It’s something that’s unique to you and may also add value to the organization.
You’ll find many examples of skills gaps in today’s workforce. Many employers find that most of the applications they receive are not suitable for the role. This could be because often people are not clear about their choices. Harappa Education’s Interpreting Self course will teach you how to define who you are and what you want to do. You can even take the VIA Character Strength survey—part of the course—to identify your strengths. Learn how to leverage your strengths to find your path to success.
Explore topics such as Self-Esteem, How to Set Life Expectations, Basic Skills for Career Growth, How to be Mentally Strong & Self-Management on the Harappa blog and achieve success in your personal and professional life.
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