I’ve been working with several young adults who feel that they don’t have the skills employers are looking for in the workplace.
When we come across these young people, we remind them that they likely have a great number of skills, but they often get overlooked because they don’t seem like actual “employability skills.”
What we need to be able to do is gift wrap our skills so that employers see them as strengths or gifts to their organization/company. Let’s discuss how we can do that effectively.
Since we’re talking about gift wrapping, let me use a personal example that relates…
In high school I wrapped gifts at a local mall to earn money during the holidays. I thought it was just a silly job, but I didn’t realize how many valuable skills I was learning during that time.
What does it take to wrap a gift? Doesn’t seem like much goes into it, but hear me out.
- First I had to make sure I had all the materials needed to wrap the item.
- Second, I had to listen to each customer to determine their wants/desires. Each person wanted a different color, ribbon, style, etc.
- Third, I had to identify where my stopping and starting points would be so as not to waste any material.
- Finally, I wrapped the gift.
I didn’t realize how many skills I was learning in that seemingly simple process until I was taught how to identify my skills.
I used my organizational skills when identifying/organizing the necessary gift wrapping materials. If I wasn’t organized, it would have taken me much longer to wrap the gifts. Time management is important, especially when serving a high quantity of customers during the holiday season!
I also practiced delivering good customer service. My job was to provide a quality service to everyone that visited my booth in hopes that they’d return in the future and spend additional money at our store. If they hadn’t received good customer service from me they likely wouldn’t have returned.
I used many other “employability” skills including communications skills and leadership skills in my gift wrapping role. These are the types of skills employers are looking for, and once I was able to discuss/highlight these skills on my resume, the doors of opportunity began to open.
So, when looking for employment, learn how to highlight the skills that you already have, and gift wrap them for employers so that they’ll know and appreciate what you can do for their company.
Cornelius Booker is a senior member of the Regional Navigator team and a graduate of Oklahoma State University where he received his Bachelors in Marketing and later received his M.B.A with a focus on Business Marketing and Management. With his personal experience and passion for the disabled community, Cornelius’ insights are an invaluable asset to the Workforce Solutions organization.