Last week, a career coach reached out to me wanting to learn about how the Skills Benchmark analysis could help her and her accounting students at the university figure out their career paths.

She seemed ready to spend the time needed to understand what it was and how she could use it. As a result, we proceeded to dig through some real-time examples and pulled a dozen random jobs with the same job title.

In our case, we pulled up the top 12 staff accountant positions in the city of Los Angeles that came up on the Find Jobs section of Carmen. Our goal was to compare how Carmen’s Skills Benchmark analysis performed in terms of its ability to indicate the most common skills and job requirements for a particular job.

First off, it’s very time consuming for any individual candidate to try to find commonalities across a large set of similar job titles. Employers have varying needs for how they expect a particular employee to perform in a job role. However, as you apply to more jobs for the same position, you’ll come to see some familiar and common requests.

Here’s an example of one of the dozen jobs we examined:

One of the sample staff accountant positions we examined

And here's what the Skills Benchmark determined after examining 12,392 jobs:

The education and experience analysis on Skills Benchmark analysis

In our case, we found that a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance (business administration) was requested across 9 of the 12 jobs in the sample set. Furthermore, 10 of the 12 required anywhere from 1 to 3 years of accounting-related experience.

Using natural language processing, Carmen’s AI platform has read through some 12,000+ jobs that are active or were recently active in the past few months with the title “staff accountant” and determined that 57% of the sample set request at least 1 year of finance experience and 36% look for 1 year of Microsoft excel experience.

The other skills the Skills Benchmark analysis found commonly requested are as follows:

Skills Benchmark example pulled from website

What we observed from our own analysis of the dozen jobs is that more than half of the jobs included words such as finance, general ledger, journal entries, accounts payable, GAAP and excel.

We also found one-fourth of the sample set looked for familiarity with financial statements and reporting, although in our particular set, we noticed a greater frequency of requests (6 of the 12) for audit and payroll familiarity.

What we can learn from this exercise

Our analysis took us a good hour to scan through each job description in detail and to count the frequency by which a particular skill or experience level was asked. What I found, and hopefully, you'll find is that the Skills Benchmark analysis can be a helpful indicator in helping us determine how important certain specific skills are for a particular job.

If you're someone who is looking to transition their career into a different job role, this can be a useful exercise to see if there is an overlap with the existing skills and experience you already possess. If you're missing just a small set of the overall skills, then you might be in a good position to learn the missing few to become qualified for the role.

I’ve tried running this type of analysis for several other positions such as a financial analyst and marketing associate and found it to be similarly useful.  

If I were applying for a job today

If I were in the job market today and actively seeking new opportunities, I would use the Skills Benchmark analysis as a starting point to help me improve my odds of getting past the ATS (applicant tracking system) as most employers seem to be using them today to screen resumes efficiently. More importantly, I would use it to capture the eye of the recruiter to let her or him know that I’m well qualified for the job position.

Business sentiment has drastically changed across the globe in light of the recent coronavirus outbreak. Some economists are already predicting that a recession is highly probable. I ran a search on Carmen today and found that there are still plenty of employers posting new jobs and are hiring so there is reason to be optimistic.

This is a great opportunity to make sure that your resume is ready to help you get your next job or, if you find that you’re missing some commonly requested skills for the job you want, it’s an opportunity for you to go develop them.