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How to prove that you've got skills and stand out from other applicants

Apr. 2022

When you're trying to land a job, recruiters want to know what justifies a certain skill or competency. They want them to be tangible. Make sure they're valid with specific and concrete examples that back them up.  

Your resume is your first opportunity to showcase yourself for an employer.

The best way to do this is to use specific examples that demonstrate your abilities. Key achievements are a way of turning your resume into a sales document that sells your skills and abilities as an asset to the employer.

To help you get started, here are some ways to show off your skills like a pro without coming across as insincere or cocky:

Be complete.

List out all the things you can do and have done that show off your skills. Don't leave anything out because it's not directly relevant or is from an entry-level job. Employers look for transferable skills, so be sure those are included on your resume.

If you're applying for an entry-level position and have school projects that would demonstrate your abilities, put them on your resume. This is especially true if those projects simulate real-world scenarios.

If you've led any type of group project, whether it was at work or at school, put those down with specifics on what you did as part of that group.

Be specific.

Think about each skill and how you use it in the workplace. What does it mean for you to be an expert? How does your experience set you apart?

The basic idea behind key achievements is to quantify your abilities. Instead of telling a potential employer that you've improved sales, show them how much and how you did it.

You can use metrics like "increased sales by 25% over the last six months" or "reached 100% of monthly sales targets every month for the past year."

Use examples.

You might think that including every example possible will make your resume too long, but if used correctly, examples will actually save space by eliminating unnecessary words or phrases that don't prove anything. Instead of saying "excellent communicator," give an example of how being an excellent communicator has benefited you at work.

The last thing you want to do is give a recruiter the impression that your skills and competencies are nothing more than empty words. Make sure they're valid with specific and concrete examples that back them up.

For example, if you're applying for a job that requires a "data-driven approach," make sure you provide concrete examples of how you've used data to make decisions. If you don't have specific examples, then perhaps this isn't the right job for you. Prove your leadership skills by detailing times when you helped a teammate achieve objectives and goals. Showcase your adaptability by using concrete examples of how you changed work processes in order to improve results.

Use bullet points to keep it neat and tidy. You don't want the reader to feel like they're reading a paragraph.

If you're trying to show off your technical skills, check out GitHub or another code-sharing site. You can post projects on sites like these that showcase what you know how to do to potential employers. LinkedIn allows for similar demonstrations of your expertise.

How can you point out these competencies and say, "Here's proof that I'm the person for this job"?

Creating an online portfolio is a great solution to showcase your best work!

So, how do you go about building up your portfolio? There's no one-size-fits-all solution, but here are some ideas:

Build your own portfolio on werebase.com.

This is an easy way to collect and organize your work samples. It's also creative, free, and can be shared to employers outside of the platform.

Do a side project.

If you're looking for a job in web design, create your own website and put it in your portfolio. Or if you're looking to work in Marketing, create your own blog or start freelancing for small businesses in the area.

Take on an internship.

Internships are perfect for gaining experience and building a portfolio — even if you've been out of school for years. You can search for open positions through werebase.com.

Get creative with your resume and portfolio. For some jobs, it might make sense to take extra time when creating your resume or portfolio so that they represent the quality of work you'll be doing at the job.