Can you Identify your skills? Do you find it hard to answer quickly? That’s ok, most people struggle to do so. However, identifying your skills is important when deciding what jobs to apply for, when tailoring your job application and preparing for an interview. Firstly, let’s take a look how to define skills, why identifying them is important and how to identify them in three steps.
What are Skills?
A skill is an action that will produce results with people, information or things. Skills are more marketable than traits. And when we talk about skill sets in employment, it relates to the category of skills or abilities necessary to perform a job. Examples of specific skill sets include communication, leadership, teamwork, planning and organizing, IT and interpersonal skills. HR managers look for achievements and skills when making recruitment decisions.
Why are they important?
The better understanding of your skill sets the higher your chance of identifying the right job for you. It is vital to show employers that you have the skills necessary for the job you are applying for. Each application, CV and cover letter you submit for a job vacancy should be tailored to the job. Therefore you need to be able to demonstrate your soft, hard and transferable skills in all cases.
There are different types of skill sets.
Soft skills are interpersonal or people skills. They are the personal attributes and personality traits needed for success in a role. These include communication, critical thinking, conflict resolution, teamwork and motivation to name a few.
Hard Skills, on the contrary, are specific abilities which enable an employee to carry out their job. These are teachable, meaning they are acquired through training and practice. These quantifiable skills include computer programming, web design, digital communications, accounting, writing, legal.
Finally, there are transferable skills. These skills transcend career fields and include mainly soft skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving.
Identify your skills in three steps:
Follow these three steps and identify your best skills:
Identify your traits
Firstly, a useful exercise to perform in the identification process is to look at your traits. A trait is a distinguishing quality or characteristic. Traits are general descriptions and show how we operate. Skills are more specific and demonstrate what we can do.
A trait may be; honesty, creativity, diligence, organized or comprehensive among others. Think about your traits and list all those that you think to apply to you. This is the first step.
Convert your traits to skills
Next, convert your traits into actual skill. For example, if your trait is creativity, think about what you were doing when you were being creative? The answer may be designing graphics for a new website or writing an article for an in print or online publication. Or alternatively, if your trait was reliability, then you may have demonstrated this by producing accounts, running payroll or balancing a budget.
Describe your achievements
Finally, think about how your skills have resulted in achievements throughout your working life. Perhaps your design skills resulted in the launch of a new marketing campaign that increased revenue for your organization. Or those skills were used to design a better, more efficient product that was produced for less money. Make a list of how your skills have impacted your job and write down the achievements you are most proud of.
Having performed all three steps above you will have a comprehensive list of your skills. This will help you to identify suitable job opportunities to fit your abilities. As well as help you to prepare to answer questions about your skills in an interview.