By Samantha Bayliss
When I tell people I work in human resources, they often respond with a question: “Will you look at my resume?”
Lately, with high unemployment and few new jobs being created, the question feels more urgent. Many job seekers welcome personal tips on making their resumes stand out, getting the interview – anything that would give them an advantage.
But there’s more to getting a job than a standout resume and a polished interview. It’s overcoming what human resources professionals call the “skills gap.”
The skills gap is the difference between the qualifications the organization needs and the candidate’s actual skills. Most employers want to hire the person with the greatest number of skills listed in the job description. Beyond the skill levels, employers also seek candidates who have attitudes and performance histories that indicate they’ll succeed on the job.
The bottom line: Many job candidates need to upgrade their skills before they polish their resumes.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways for job seekers to brush up their skills. They can take a technical class at a local community college, enroll in a certificate program, or attend seminars related to their profession or that cut across all industries, like communication skills.
If you can’t afford those options, the Community Loan Fund may be able to help. Our Individual Development Account (IDA) matched savings program will help you save money to use for your classes or training, by matching every dollar you save toward your education (up to $2,000) with an additional three dollars. You can use your IDA savings, plus the match money you earn, to pay for tuition, fees, books, supplies and/or equipment costs at an approved school or program. You don’t have to be enrolled in a degree or certificate program to be eligible.
An education IDA can help you cover some or all of the costs of attending school, or fill the gap between the cost of your education and what is available through financial aid or scholarships. The education IDA can also pay for classes if you don’t have federal financial aid, and can help reduce your student loans.
Are you ready to bridge your skills gap? Contact the Community Loan Fund for more information on how we can help.
Samantha Bayliss is Director of Human Resources at the Community Loan Fund.