Make Past Experience Stand Out During the Job Search

Friday, April 5, 2013

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Sometimes the most challenging part of the job search is convincing employers that certain past experience can be an asset to a company in the future. It can be difficult to translate practical experience to marketable skills, but with the right attention to detail job seekers can use their previous positions to their advantage. 

The first step toward using past experience in the job search is to take an inventory of the skills that have been picked up over the years. Identify those that are most beneficial to certain industries or specific careers, and be sure to highlight them in resumes or cover letters. It may even be worthwhile to create totally unique cover letters and resumes for each job to properly emphasize the qualities that can be of the most use in that job or environment. 

It is also important to know which skills from past experience are valuable in any job. For example, time spent in the customer service realm can be tremendously useful, as it teaches how to interact with consumers or clients on the fly, while even time spent in clubs or organizations can show how an individual works in a group setting and interacts with others. During the interview process, don't be afraid of bringing up these former work situations where certain important skills or qualities may have been exemplified.

"There are some skills we want people to have from day one, like relationship-building and selling skills," Paul Peterson, a national talent resource manager at Grant Thornton, told The Globe and Mail. "We want to know, if we put you in front of a client, how will you do? The onus is on the job seeker to find a way to articulate that." 

Even experience in business courses at an Alberta college can help aspiring workers put their best foot forward in the job search. Certain educational tracks teach skills relating to office tools, human resources and other applicable techniques, all of which are important in a business setting. Students who have benefited from these classes should be sure to bring up their time in the classroom and the material covered, as it may provide an added boost to their qualifications.

Students interested in taking courses to improve their skills can start by enrolling in business courses like the Office administration or Oil and Gas Administrative Assistant programs at Reeves College. For more information, fill out the form on the right.


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