If you've ever been in one of those "career planning" meetings -- especially in a group -- you've seen the presentation. You know the one. The one that says your industry considers your job skills important, but when you transform the job, the skills move to a different level (where you need to get). There's usually the boring PowerPoint, a few cute graphs that show you how to get from baseline skills to this magical place where you land sometime in the future. Out there somewhere sometime maybe possibly yeah. PC TypewriterYawn. Really nice meeting -- a good break from the relentless drumbeat of tasks and escalations. Five minutes after walking out, everything that was said is gone from your awareness. Gone, of course, except for those who are serious about their employability and understand that job skills always, always evolve. What those people just saw was a roadmap to staying employable at the leading edges of the job market. What they now do is review their job skills, figure out gaps, and build a plan to fill them. A year or two later, those people get the cool new jobs and everyone wonders how it happened. I can tell you: They took specific actions to move their job skills from where they were to where they needed to go.

Qualifications Count

Your job skills are the fundamental requirement for getting an initial interview. If the person reviewing your resume doesn't put a little check mark next to the job skills needed enough times, you get thrown out. Leading companies want people with leading job skills. For example, showing experience as a project manager isn't enough. Some years later, you not only need experience managing projects, but also to have worked in an environment that has methodology as part of the PM approach. Some years later, you not only need all that, but also you need to show your dedication by having a PMP certification. And some years after that, you need to show how all of this helps drive business results. And those that don't evolve their job skills? Yup, those are the resumes hitting the trash bin. They're usually from the same people who loudly proclaim their experience while never showing results from their evolved skills.

Your Resume Shows Your Evolution

If you want to see how your resume stacks up, go pull some job descriptions for open positions right here on Dice, the ones you think you qualify for, or which look really interesting no matter the location or where you are in your job search. Print that job description. Print your resume. Now compare your resume's job skills with the ones in the job description. How many check marks did you get? If you didn't get enough, is the issue that you don't have the job skills on your resume -- or that you don't have the skills needed for the work? One is easy to fix -- update your resume. The other isn't as easy. It requires a plan, and then its execution, to get the skills you now need. Of course, one can argue that companies want Superman and Superwoman to do the job of a Data Janitor. But if you compare enough job descriptions to your resume, you'll be able to see what you have versus what you're missing. So the choice is yours: Will you execute a plan to improve your job skills now, or will you ignore the need and later proclaim all your experience even while your resume gets thrown in the trash? The stakes for staying in the career game keep going up. Are you keeping up?