Ride Your Natural Talents to Your Next Job
Amy Bolyard worked as a human resources executive for mortgage broker company Equity Consultants, LLC, which was repeatedly named one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Hot 100 Fastest Growing Companies in the Nation. She helped grow the company from the ground up to over 300 employees in the first three years based on a simple philosophy: “We will hire passion, persistence, and innate talent over the ‘right’ experience every time!”
Hiring innate talent over skills and experience? Surprised?—you shouldn’t be.
The value of transferable skills is well-established in the job hunting process. These technical and soft skills are key factors in most jobseekers’ resume, cover letter and interview strategies.
Yet, few think to showcase innate talents, such as people skills, perseverance, a sense of ethics, and a go-getter personality, on their resumes.
While employers may not care whether or not you can wiggle your ears, many of your natural abilities greatly influence your job performance and potential. And in today’s ultra-competitive job market, recruiters and employers are taking notice.
“I found that if someone had an innate skill, it was easier to see positive on-the-job performance pretty quickly. Training someone with transferable skills is always possible but the results don’t usually compare as favorably with someone who has an innate ability,” says New Directions Career Center placement specialist Cynthia Kazalia.
Job search strategist and executive recruiter Amos Tayts, who owns resume-writing company ResumeTarget.com, says that possessing the basic skills is just not enough anymore. “I have found in my experience that innate skills are very valuable in the job market. Most people can now pick up skills that are basic and transferrable, but not everyone has the specific, unique talents that employers are looking for,” he says.
In fact, many companies now consider strong innate abilities and values not bonuses but prerequisites. For example, medical device company Stryker Canada requires all potential employees to undergo Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment. If they are not deemed good fits according to the test, they are not offered on-site interviews.
Even if you are not applying to one of these companies, career transition coach David Couper says that the test is a good way to gain perspective on your natural strengths. “I ask my clients to take this assessment and then to weave those findings into the resume, cover and interview,” he says.
And there lies the problem. The issue with innate abilities—and the reason that some employers have yet to officially adopted this system—is that they are usually harder to judge, and harder to extract from a resume, than transferable skills.
So, what can you do to clearly convey your innate strengths to potential employers and recruiters? Make them quantifiable.
“For example, if your innate skill lies with relationship development, show your potential employer that you’ve increased sales by a certain percentage or reduced turnover in your supervisory department by a specific number. Spell it out with figures and measurable values,” says Tayts.
Tayts adds that the cover letter is also a powerful tool for communicating your natural talents in a less rigid manner. “The cover letter is a more creative space to convey a compelling image of who you are and what your core values are. Paint a strong and passionate picture,” he says.
“Make it easy on your potential employer. If you don’t connect the dots, no one will do it for you!”