After hours of scouring the internet, you find the perfect job with a great company in your area. You scan through the description and mentally check-off each requirement as you go down the list.
But then you come across a specific technology or software that you haven’t worked with before. Or a required certification that you don’t have. You stop there and go back to the list of search results.
If you’ve ever been in this scenario and opted not to apply for a job because you felt under qualified, you are definitely not alone. America’s “skills gap” is leaving a large number of positions unfilled and a pool of frustrated candidates still hunting for jobs.
Skills Gap: “the difference in the skills required on the job and the actual skills possessed by the employees.”
Training Magazine described the American skills gap as an education issue caused by a mismatch between skills that are taught in the U.S. and the labor pressure in the market.
These days, required skill sets are constantly evolving with advances in technology and the education that we receive at the beginning of a life-long career isn’t enough to remain competitive in the long run. Professionals can stay current and build the confidence to apply for the positions that seem just out of reach by continuing their education and taking the initiative to fill any holes on their resume. If it’s a close match, it could come down to mastery of soft skills or training that was done on personal time.
Here are some tips to keep in mind if you want to overcome the skills gap:
Be aware of the things you know and don’t know
Make a list of the skills you have and the ones that you think you need to attain. A recent article from Forbes reported that this exercise will help you determine what gaps are there and feel confidence in the knowledge that you already have. It also helps identify equivalent skills that can help in place of ones you haven’t learned yet.
Never stop learning
To beat the skills gap, professionals must be proactive and own their own development. An article from Workforce Magazine stated, “A byproduct of accelerated technological advancement and automation is a shorter shelf life for skills. If workers want to ensure that their resumes remain marketable, they must continually acquire and enhance skill sets throughout the 40-plus years they may be active in the workforce.”
Follow experts and thought-leaders in your space and keep an eye out for freebies like webinars and reports that can help you stay updated on what’s happening in your field. Formal education can be expensive but if you’re just looking to brush up on professional skills or learn a new software, there are some great online resources that are inexpensive and easy to use. Below are just a few of the options:
Solidify your soft skills
The skills gap isn’t just affecting technical skills. Training Magazine reports that there is also a gap in soft skills like communication, listening and leadership. These skills are critical in any industry and there are many resources for those who are looking to sharpen them.
Make the time to read articles and self-help books to aid your learning and take advantage of any opportunities to attend professional development seminars and workshops. Mentors can also be great resources for feedback and guidance in this area.
Keep track of your progress
As you learn new skills, be sure to add them to your running list. Keeping track of your learning and accomplishments will make it easier to recall details you might need. Find the best way to remember and showcase your skills to colleagues and potential employers in your industry.
Consider your career development as you plan for the new year and make goals for self-learning and education. Whether you’re in the midst of a job search or if you just started in a new position, it’s best to always be prepared for the impacts of the skills gap in case your situation changes.
If you’re currently looking for a new role in Southern California, contact us to get connected with a Marquee Staffing recruiter. We specialize in placing talent in some of the most desirable areas, including Irvine, San Diego, Orange County, Oceanside, and Carlsbad.