Getting Real With Roses

Forget Resume Keywords and Embrace Transferable Skills When Hiring

With unemployment at its lowest level since 2000, itís time for employers to let go of the concept of the perfect candidate. Although perfect has always been an ambiguous concept, itís still an ideal regularly chased by many employers, leaving job vacancies languishing and existing staff taxed. Being blinded by the quest for perfection can also mean missing out on job candidates with transferable skills applicable in any number of industries.

Transferable skills, those talents and abilities an employee takes with them, can be a benefit in many situations and may also be referred to as soft or key skills. These could include skills for listening, learning new procedures, conveying information, assessing performance, organization, solving problems, communication and the ever-important people skills.

Blind Spot
The willingness of employers to recognize and embrace transferable skills could bridge the gap between the on paper perfect candidate and one who can quickly get up-to-speed with a little company or industry specific training. Proponents of transferable skills argue that so-called skills shortages could be alleviated by looking beyond the resume keywords and to the actual skills an individual possesses. Those who cling to a job description with the specificity of years of experience or an industry standard could be missing out on experienced candidates who possess unconventional backgrounds and career experience, all of which could pay off big for those willing to break out of the hiring mold.

Prime Example
One area where the concept of transferable skills is more common is in the hiring of military veterans. Boeing, Union Pacific Railroad and Lockheed Martin are just a few of the companies who look to hire military veterans, according to Monster.comís list of great companies for veterans. When asked why, the companies answered they appreciate a pool of candidates who already possess strong work ethic, mission accomplishment and leadership talents.

The military is not unique in this mindset but currently may be the best example. Other bright, yet often unexplored options are athletes and musicians who understand the value of discipline and teamwork. And donít forget those employees who might be nearing retirement. In many cases, these individuals bring years of dedicated service and the accompanying skills to prove it.

No Exact Match
Employment fluctuations over the years mean all employees have worn a variety of new hats and acquired a multitude of new skills. From an employerís perspective this is always good news. Employees have more transferable skills than ever, from computer and technical skills to research and planning. Recognizing the promise of such skills means a chance to employ people who already know how to juggle tasks and wear multiple hats. With a dose of dedicated, company-specific training, the candidate who may not seem up to par when judged by a resume keyword search may turn out to be a very smart hire. Working with a staffing agency can help you identify these transferable skills and enable your company to be proactive in your hiring needs.

This article is brought to you by Staffing Kansas City. A full-service employment agency that provides contract-to-hire, direct hire and contract employment placement services in the Overland Park, Johnson County, and Kansas City Metro areas.