So often the margin between whether you receive a job offer or it goes to another candidate is razor thin. This may be the result of someone else having just a little better skillset than you currently possess. COVID-19 could also have caused a small skills gap with you or maybe you just need to do some sharpening before you head back out to the workforce.

Doing some small improvements does not need to be an expensive or time-consuming endeavor. In fact, most of the time, the little adjustment that you need can be done quite easily and with minimal or no cost.

Let’s examine some of the areas that candidates can quickly skill up on to assist them in their job search.

• Remote Meeting Software: Many meetings are now being held virtually, with most or all of the members sitting in various locations, whether it be offices or even at home. The different software options, whether it be MS Teams or Zoom, generally work the same and make it is pretty easy to become user savvy quickly. If you have not used this software before but may need to in an upcoming position, then a quick suggestion is to open your own free personal account. The free accounts usually have much of the same functionality but limit your meeting minutes. You can then practice the different tools with family and friends and voila, you can now add this knowledge and options to your resume.

• Other Software: So many candidates profess a need to learn more about basic software, particularly MS Office. Learning what is necessary to become an Intermediate or even an Advanced user does not need to take months and hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars. There are at least two easy and free options to consider when wanting to skill up in this area. The first is simply to ask someone who does know how to do it. Watch them do what you want to learn (such as how to write an Excel formula or build a PowerPoint presentation) and then do it yourself while they observe and critique. If this is not an option for you then there is always YouTube. YouTube has dozens (or even hundreds) of really good training videos that can show you how to do different tasks using MS Office. A few sessions exploring different training modules can quickly create a situation where you can confidently talk to a Hiring Manager about your skill set in this area.

• Remote Leadership: Increasingly, leadership positions are requiring supervisors to manage some combination of in-person and remote. As anyone who has managed someone remotely can attest, the two are not the same and sometimes requires different communication or approaches. While nothing can replace actual experience in this area, there are several good books covering this topic that can prove beneficial. “The Long-Distance Leader” and “Leading from Anywhere” are just two options you have to learn more in this area. You can then work into the conversation with the Hiring Manager that you have read into this topic and express what your key takeaways were and how you will apply them.

There are a variety of other items that you can easily sharpen your skills involving making you a more viable candidate in 2022. 

• Just like remote leadership has become a large subject, so has working on a virtual team. Being able to express how you would embrace this and build relationships would be seen as a positive. 

• Being able to work independently in a remote setting could also be a key factor for a position you are seeking. While it seems like everyone thinks they are terrific working remotely, the reality is much fewer truly are productive. Stress to the Hiring Manager how you have your own dedicated space to limit interruptions, and a system to keep you on-track and focused during the workday.

• While not a skill, you can quickly adapt to the new work requirements with some employers by becoming vaccinated. This status means one less thing for a Hiring Manager to worry about as they try to navigate between potential mandates and employer policies. If becoming vaccinated is the right thing for you and it is appropriate to do so, then be sure to work this into the conversation with the Hiring Manager, so they know.

The world of work continues to evolve, and COVID-19 seems to have given it all a turbo charge. The good news is that you can pick up some much-needed skills and feel like you have adapted to the changes without a huge time or financial investment. Some simple efforts and a focus to make sure it is noted on your resume or in the interview can bridge any potential gap that you may have. 

As always, best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of RochesterJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at:
Joe Stein


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