Skill Statement Part 2

“Hello, my name is Calvin Stewart. For the past year I’ve worked in a production machine shop using high-powered drills, sanders, and a CNC machine. One idea of mine saved my employer thousands of dollars in production costs.”

Important Skills to Include

These skills are used on many jobs. (For instance, almost half of all jobs require keeping records and maintaining files.) Employers will be looking for these skills when they hire. If you have these skills, include them in your skills statement:

  •         Use a computer
  •         Keep records and maintain files
  •         Apply interpersonal communication techniques
  •         Use computer keyboard
  •         Follow/give instructions
  •         Use correct grammar, punctuation and spelling
  •         Provide customer service
  •         Use word processing software
  •         Use spreadsheet software
  •         Prepare reports

Now Create Your Own

Now it’s time to create your own skills statement. If you have some of the skills listed above, include them. Here’s the three parts of your skills statement:

Part 1: Identify yourself.

Part 2: State briefly the skills you have or results you produced on past jobs that are important to the employers you are calling.

Part 3: Show how you have fit into other companies in the past or the personal qualities you have that are important to the job you want.

Skills Statement Practice

Once you have created your skills statement, it’s time to practice using it. Here are some ways to do that:

Sit with a positive and caring friend. Explain what a skills statement is and why you need one. Have your friend pretend to be an employer. Start by reading your skills statement. Repeat this process until you feel comfortable just saying it.

Use a tape recorder. Find a quiet place and pretend you are speaking to an employer. Imagine the details: the company name, the employer’s name, the job you want. Doing this makes this practice more effective. Now say your skills statement into the tape recorder. Repeat this several times before you play the tape back.

Stand in front of a mirror. Pretend you are speaking to an employer. Practice your skills statement until you feel comfortable.

Ways to use your skills statement

  1. At the beginning of an interview. A skills statement is a great ice-breaker.
  2. When an employer asks: “Tell me a little about yourself.” A skills statement describes you and your skills in a way that relates directly to an employer’s needs.
  3. When you do follow-up calls to employers. By repeating the skills statement, you refresh the employer’s memory.
  4. When you sit down to prepare a resume. Since your skills statement contains information that will be useful in a resume, it can help you get started.
  5. When you are on your way to an interview. Repeating your skills statement to yourself is a good way to get “pumped up” for an interview.

Skill Statement Part 1

Skill Statement Anatomy

A skills statement can help you get an employer’s attention in thirty seconds or less. A skills statement has three parts:

Part One: Hello, my name is Barbara Wilson.

Explanation: Identifies her to the employer.

Part Two: I have one year experience as a clerical worker and receptionist. I can file, and operate a multi-line phone system. I am also trained in several word processing programs.

Explanation: States present skills or past results produced. Think back on the important parts of your past job. What did you spend most of your time doing? What skills did you need? What training did you receive?

Part Three: I really enjoy working with the public. I can handle stressful situations and was employee of the month two times with my last employer.

Explanation: Shows attitudes or how you have fit with other companies. What personal qualities or abilities did you need to do your job well? Are you good with the public, efficient, loyal, honest? Did you receive any awards? Were you dependable and on time?

Time yourself saying Barbara’s skills statement. It probably takes you less than 30 seconds. Yet, look at how much good information is in it.

Sample Skill Statements

Eileen was laid off from her office manager position at a real estate company. She is seeking a job as a sales representative for an office supply company. She has no previous sales experience but has much firsthand knowledge of office supplies.

“Hi, my name is Eileen Watkin. I have three years’ experience using and ordering all types of office supplies. I’m strong in customer relations and can communicate well. I’m honest, dependable, persistent and a hard working self-starter.”

Charles was injured while working as a tow-truck driver. He wants to find a job working as a service writer at a car dealership. This is a job he has never done but he has researched it well.

“Hello, my name is Charles Dundee. I have four years’ experience working with the public when their cars needed repairs. I can make accurate diagnoses of problems and cost estimates. I enjoy working with the public and can use both spreadsheet and word processing programs.”

Adrian recently finished a one-year certificate program at a community college in accounting. She’s now looking for her first job.

“Hi, my name is Adrian Woodward. I recently completed a one-year accounting program and learned both manual and computerized accounting. I am accurate and detail oriented and was on the honor roll three terms.”

Calvin Stewart has been working in an on-the-job training at a production machine shop for the last year. He knows that the company he is calling uses some of the same equipment.

Contacts: How Part 2

Just a few sentences

All this magic comes in just a few sentences. The first identifies you by name to an employer. The next show skills you have and the results you have produced in past jobs. Finally you show attitudes you have now or ways that you have fit into other work settings. That’s all there is to it.

Saying these few sentences takes thirty seconds or less. You are not trying to convince employers to hire you on the spot. You are not reciting your complete work history. You simply want to get attention and interest.

Writing your skills statement will take about half an hour. This is time well spent. A skills statement will make your employer contacts more productive. It will speed your return to work.

Steps to take before you call

Print this page and have it nearby when you are ready to call employers. Review it before you start and keep it (along with your resume and skills statement) in front of you as you call.

Before you call:

  •         Set a schedule of when you will make your calls. Have clear goals. For example: “Today I will call 10 employers.”
  •         Make your initial calls in the morning. Return calls in the afternoon.
  •         Plan and practice what you will say. Call a helpful friend and practice (role play) with them.
  •         Practice your skills statement.
  •         Write down potential questions or questions employers have asked you and practice answering them.

When you call:

  •         Have your skills statement, resume, and a completed job application in front of you.
  •         Smile when you talk. That smile will come through to the person on the other end of the line.
  •         Be enthusiastic. Vary the level of your voice.
  •         Create a mental picture of the person you are speaking to. Talk with them, not at them.
  •         Ask for a face-to-face meeting.

Getting past the screener:

  •         Ask for the decision maker by name.
  •         Sound confident, as if you should be speaking to the decision maker. Because you should be!
  •         Ask for the decision maker’s direct dial number.

And remember:

  •         Set goals.
  •         Be persistent.
  •         Ask for a face-to-face meeting.

Practicing before you call employers

To do these role plays, you need a partner. This could be a friend, relative, or helping professional.

  1. Have your partner be the screener that answers your call. Practice getting past this screener and to the decision maker. When your partner asks the following questions, practice different answers:
  •         May I tell the manager what this is about?
  •         Are you calling about a job?
  •         May I have the manager call you back?
  1. Now have your partner be the decision maker. Practice what you will say once you reach the decision maker.
  •         Practice using your skills statement and then asking for a face-to-face meeting.
  •         Practice giving the person a choice of two times to meet.