How to Showcase Your Skills when Applying for Your First Job

This article is for recent graduates, either from high school or college, ready to look for a first job. Here are some great tips on preparing your resume and spotlighting skills that will make you interesting to employers:

You’ve been in school for the longest time, but you are now done with college, and it’s time to look for a new job. Unfortunately, with so many candidates in search of the same job as you, you’re so anxious, wondering if you will ever get a working opportunity. Again, when looking for a new job, you are very likely to encounter job descriptions that you fear might not have the needed requirements. But the good thing is that employers might consider some skills over others.

If we are being completely honest with ourselves, your skills and potential can land you the job you want, rather than your specific background or the degree you’re holding. Employers these days are valuing soft skills. They are also willing to invest in developing their employees’ technical or hard skills after hiring them.

This is why you need to know how to showcase your skills when applying for a new job. This will help you be considered over other candidates in the same boat as you are and get offered a chance to work.

Consider going through the following points on how to showcase your skills when you are applying for a first-time job:

Highlight Your Skills on Your Resume

Nowadays, it is not easy to land a new job, especially the first one, because you might not have the required experience or skills. The job market has also become difficult due to many candidates who need jobs. However, you can still be easily spotted by a prospective employer due to the strengths and abilities on your resume, even without much professional experience.

It would be best to create a resume that shows who you are and what you can offer to a company. This is why you should create a resume with a guide from the free resume builder that offers all the resume help you need. A recent article from Harvard Business Review recommends that you start writing your skills below your name and title. You should highlight the top skills a particular employer needs, including flexibility, communications and management.

Also, do not forget to add to the list your technical skills, such as your ability in collaboration tools, Microsoft apps (excel), video conferencing technologies and other software. Finally, because it’s a new job and you do not have much experience, highlight soft skills you acquired in college through academic achievements, projects and other papers. The skills might include teamwork skills, project management and managing communications.

Talk about Soft Skills Throughout the Journey

Employers are always so eager to get qualified candidates. So it’s good to talk about the soft skills you can offer. When applying for any job, you should always consider that your employer will look for soft skills in everyone. You should not only highlight your soft skills in your resume, cover letters or CVs but also when you are in an interview and from the feedback your references give.

When applying for a job, you must remember to talk about your soft skills throughout the journey. For instance, if you have strong written and oral communication skills, you should highlight them during your interview and in the cover letter.

You can also talk about any other soft skills you might have, such as your ability to work in a team, adaptability, leadership, time management and problem-solving skills.

Prepare Your References

References are people who have experience with your positive work, volunteer and academics. It is advisable that you choose your references wisely. You should reach out to your references and talk to them about the soft skills you have written down in your resume before they get contacted by the employer. Ask them to give as much positive feedback as possible to a prospective employer to increase your chances of getting the job.

References play a significant role in your job application because they can provide an employer with additional information that can help you land the job. For example, if you are applying for a job that requires excellent leadership skills, your references can help talk about how you lead a team of employees to success.

References can help talk about your problem-solving and teamwork skills. They can also talk about how you are able to work under pressure and how you are able to handle challenging work situations.

Leverage the Power of Digital Portfolio Sites

Digital portfolios put your resume on the web in an easy-to-understand format rather than on a two-page printed document that is susceptible to being misplaced. This makes it more accessible, transparent, robust and quickly updated.

If you want to stand out from the crowd in a highly competitive job market, a modern resume like this one will do the trick. Your credentials, evidence, and history are all conveniently gathered in one place. Potential employers can then check it out and see if you fit the bill before bothering you.

With a digital portfolio site, you do nothing, saving you the disappointment of sending out a resume and receiving nothing but silence in return.

–image credit Deposit Photo


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 25 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning. Read Jacqui’s tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days.

Author: Jacqui
Welcome to my virtual classroom. I've been a tech teacher for 15 years, but modern technology offers more to get my ideas across to students than at any time in my career. Drop in to my class wikis, classroom blog, our internet start pages. I'll answer your questions about how to teach tech, what to teach when, where the best virtual sites are. Need more--let's chat about issues of importance in tech ed. Want to see what I'm doing today? Click the gravatar and select the grade.

Love to hear your thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.