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Skills vs. Qualifications: What You Need to Win Your Next Position

What is the best way to impress a potential employer? A CV with plenty of experience? A list of qualifications? Both? This is the question asked by many hungry applicants across every industry on the planet, as if there was some magic formula to secure your dream job. After all, without the prerequisite certification, candidates will likely face elimination in the early screening stages. But similarly, those without adequate experience to perform the role are also likely to be quickly turned down. So what’s left? In this blog, we explore when you have the skills, but not the qualifications, and what’s really needed to win your next position. 

job position

RPL Assessment

Just like the range of diverse professions available, every job posting will have a manager or recruitment officer behind it looking for something unique. What you can count on is that, no matter what you might be applying for, they are ultimately concerned with how you will perform the job once you’re hired. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know this until you have actually started working. One way to gain an indication is to see if you have the relevant qualifications to efficiently perform the tasks. But you could have obtained your skills outside of formal training avenues, or overseas, meaning you might not have the right piece of paper, but you have skills far superior than anyone else applying. That’s where an RPL Assessment can assist. This is a process that helps utilise your past experience and knowledge and translate it against applicable, nationally recognised qualifications. 

Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) can give your resume everything it needs to impress potential employers. Qualifications are normally issued by registered training organisations (RTOs) after someone has completed lengthy and costly training courses. RPL is the process by which RTOs can assess a portfolio of evidence consisting of examples of prior work, footage of work completed, referrals, other forms of qualification and more, to see whether the candidate can be deemed competent in their field in accordance with Australian standards. If so, then they will either be awarded credits against, or a full, nationally recognised qualification. If not, the RTO may even highlight the candidate’s areas in need of improvement, and recommended courses or programs that can help them upskill. 

Making the Most of Your Resume

There is no perfect balance between education, skills and qualifications. You want to do as much as you can to impress in both areas, to dissuade any doubts the person reading your resume – the one looking for the best new fit for their organisation – may hold. If you have the qualifications, but no real experience, it can always be beneficial to move into related roles that might not necessarily be what you want to do, but offer opportunities to upskill. Everyone has to start somewhere. Alternatively, if you have the  skills, but not the qualifications, look for ways (such as RPL) to utilise those parts of your life to be certified.