Specialized skills can help you get a job

A recent hike to LeConte Lodge, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, illustrated the specialized skills that jobs can involve.

llamas, llama wrangler, Mt. LeConte, LeConte Lodge

The llama wrangler loads the packs of the llamas at the LeConte Lodge, getting the llams ready for the trip down the Trillium Gap Trail. Photo by Julie Dodd

At dinner one night, three of the people at my table were visiting the lodge as part of an environmental impact assessment. The three had to hike about 11 miles roundtrip to Mt. LeConte, carrying a pack. That’s a job commute that most people couldn’t do.

LeConte Lodge uses llamas to transport linens and food. The llamas cause less damage to the trails than the horses that previously had been used. Not just anyone can be a llama wrangler. The llama wrangler hikes to Mt. LeConte three times a week leading the llamas. Job duties include loading and unloading the llamas onto a transport truck, loading and unloading their packs, determining the llama personalities to decide what order to put them, and keeping them going.

Think about some of those special abilities you have. Two special areas for many jobs are computer skills and language ability.

But think about other special abilities you have. Those special skills –CPR certification, Master Gardener, or hiking ability – could help qualify you for a job. Recently, I helped coach someone with her résumé who had included that she’d opened the library where she worked every morning at 7 a.m.  Being a early-morning person could be an important quality for some jobs.

Some of your special skills may not be needed on the job you are applying for but can speak to your persistence, concern for others, etc.

For example, a former student was applying for a very competitive job at a photography studio. When he was hired for the position, he asked the owner of the studio what had made the difference in his getting the job.

The owner told him that it was the fact the student was an Eagle Scout. Of course, the student was an excellent photographer but so were most of the other applicants. The owner was an Eagle Scout himself and knew the persistence and effort that becoming an Eagle Scout required. And that was what made the difference.

Do you have story of a specialized skill that helped you get a job or that made the difference if you were hiring interns or employees?

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