GNcareers, from Gulf News

The importance of running a reality check on your experience and qualifications

Run a reality check on your experience and qualificationsImage Credit: Supplied

Before you begin looking for a job, you must pause and run your experience and qualifications through a reality check. The goal of this exercise is to make sure that your perception of your capabilities is realistic and will be an appropriate factor in your job search.

Any gap between your perception and how your skills are likely to be seen by future employers means that you may be applying for the wrong positions – higher or lower – and miss out on jobs that you make the perfect fit for. In addition, this divide also may mean that you're unaware of areas that might be essential to your professional development.

In all cases, your perception may be better shaped through the hiring process as you gain more knowledge about what employers are looking for in particular jobs. Still, it is important to narrow the gap to start between the job you think you deserve and what you actually can get to avoid delays and disappointments.

To ensure that your understanding of where you fall in the candidate pool is accurate, take a good look at the following areas.


Your experience and skills must be transferable from your current position to similar jobs in the industry. Many people, especially those who spend several years with one employer, may narrow their knowledge to the specific requirement of the employer.

One good way to check if your experience covers all the requirements of other employers is to look at several job posts as well as job descriptions of the position you're considering and compare. Check requirements as met only if you have thorough knowledge of this requirement. If you aren't able to fully demonstrate these skills, you probably won't get the chance to proceed.

Once you spot the areas in which you're falling behind, you have two choices. The first is adjusting the type of jobs you're applying for, perhaps to a lower or a different position. Alternatively, you can put your job-hunting efforts on hold until you acquire the needed skills. Some may choose a combination of both if they are in a hurry to exit their current position.


Does having 500 friends on Facebook mean that you're popular? If the answer is, ''no,'' why would you think that having 500 connections on LinkedIn is evidence of being connected? This is just one example of how many people amplify their network of business connections.

If you're seeking a job with a business where your connections matter, make sure that you provide an actual list of leads or contacts. Social networking and professional forums are all good, but not enough.

Ability to adapt

Employers often look for someone whose flexibility during the hiring process has the potential to carry over to ensure an easy transition. If you claim to be easy to adapt to new environment, but you don't demonstrate this clearly throughout the hiring process, you may be running another risk of being excluded.

To review your true skills in this domain, take a hard, long look at situations where you were required to make a smooth transition. If rigidness is the way you do business, you reconsider your approach as soon as possible. Although people typically bring their tried-and-tests knowledge to new jobs, there is a great deal of adjusting to the employer's ways that must be done. Try to align your perception of how you handle this with the employer's expectations. In addition, make sure that you actually act on what you promise.

Quality of work

Being able to do something isn't the same like doing it right. For specific areas of experience, employers typically will just test you and/or set your employment on probation. When you convey the quality of your work to future employers, therefore, you must be as accurate as possible. That is not to shoot yourself in the foot, but if there are areas that need polishing or extra training, you should just let the employer know upfront.

Your honesty will help you avoid trouble down the road and get the help you need. In addition, if the employer is keen on having someone who has already mastered these areas then your application may be declined (which is still better than being let go later), or moved to a different, more suitable position.

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Source: Rania Oteify, Special to

The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor