The workplace and job market have evolved rapidly over the past year due to the pandemic. Of course, the job market is always evolving, but the pandemic has caused it to change more quickly than before.
While on the hunt for a job in this new landscape, you are bound to come across the words “skills” and “competencies”. While they may seem interchangeable, believe it or not, they are not synonyms. During your next job search, or while looking to advance in your current role, it is important to thoroughly comprehend the difference. So, what is the difference?
1) Skills are the specific abilities that you learn and that you need to practice in a role to be successful.
2) Competencies are the behaviours and knowledge you use in your position to be successful.
We have put together the below lists of both skills and competencies that have emerged in the last year to help you focus on what is important to employers as we emerge from the pandemic:
Since the pandemic forced the world to switch into working from home mode, the digital transformation has accelerated more rapidly than predicted. Talent that previously didn’t need to be tech-savvy needed to learn quickly and adapt to meeting the same level of productivity virtually. Companies are investing more and more into technology including in people who are skilled in technology, even in positions that previously wouldn’t be thought of as a tech role.
Effective communication skills are now not only recommended but required. As the world switched to working from home, communication channels changed. Communicating with a team member is not as easy as walking over to their office now. Being able to send concise emails and discuss clearly in virtual meetings are crucial to retaining productivity.
Collaboration abilities have always been a key skill to employers. However, it has risen even higher up on their lists of must-haves since the pandemic. Collaboration looks different now. You need to know how to collaborate in all forums, whether that be via email, phone or virtual meeting. Effective collaboration skills are essential to the workplace.
Everyone in the working world has had to become flexible over the past year. Whether that’s being flexible to switch to working from home or adjusting to new responsibilities. Employers are now prioritising the ability to be flexible in all facets.
Adapting to new demands and new situations is something we have all had to practice during the pandemic. Juggling change while staying focused on your responsibilities is key to becoming successful.
Accountability looks very different than it did pre-pandemic. While working from home managers could not monitor their teams as closely, team members have to hold themselves accountable for the commitments they’ve made. Therefore, knowing how to hold yourself accountable without a manager guiding your every step is critical to today’s workforce environment.
Understanding where your skills and competencies lie in comparison to what is looked for in the current market will allow you to become a more well-rounded candidate. Learning and practising the skills and competencies that you may have put on the backburner will give you a competitive advantage over other talent looking for the same positions.
While on your hunt for a new role, or if you want to improve in your current position, always remember that “skills” and “competencies” aren’t buzzwords used to fill up a job description. They are the tools we use to become successful.