How to identify your own skillset
Skills are indispensable. In order to secure employment, skills are as important as your degrees. They are the distinguishing factors that make you employable. There is intense competition in the employment market for both graduates and post-graduates. Thus, it becomes imperative for each student and job seeker to identify their core skillset. Skills that can help them stand out in the crowd. Although employers screen applications on the basis of degree and experience, they short-list on the basis of employability skills, psychometric test, and probe into a personality rather than the educational degrees. Employers adopt such practices because it is a common notion that by focusing just on the degree they might miss out on graduates who have not attained great qualifications but possess excellent employability skills.
The latest trend of placing an emphasis on key skills directs higher education curriculums to incorporate opportunities to allow students to hone skills along with knowledge. This increases an applicant’s potential to secure employment. This in turn leads to the requirement for identifying your skills and working on them.
Identifying your skillset
When you seek employment, your first step should be to assess yourself and identify vital information about yourself. Such insight into your abilities will help you create a CV in tandem with the job description and add value to the job you are seeking. It will also help you to:
- Benchmark employability
- Flag up gaps
- Stay in tandem with the right opportunities
- Run an effective campaign for job search
Assessing your skillset
In order to assess your skills it is vital to create a list of them. Especially the ones that you do well and the ones that you enjoy doing. List skills that you have used before. Also try to find the difference in skills by understanding who can do the job better than the rest. Also list all skills that are particularly useful for the position you intend to apply for.
Once you have created an exhaustive list of skills, note the skills that you have demonstrated in action. Try to look closely. While you demonstrated one skill in your activity, it was accompanied by a number of related skills. Let’s take for example, a skill that you perhaps listed as “negotiation skills when dealing with suppliers”. If you break this point down, you will get a couple of more skills – relationship building, flexibility, and conflict management.
Once you have comfortably listed your skillset, you must start benchmarking them. Look at the job descriptions that suit you and check for skills that the employers are in quest of. You can discuss with headhunters or agencies for their opinion. Determine whether you have the skills that they are looking for along with examples of previous use of such skills. Understand whether these skills can be used in other roles and get feedback on areas that you need to develop on. How do you go about stepping into a target role or a bridging role to get the experience?
Understanding your knowledge
It is time to delve deeper into your knowledge base. How thorough is your technical know-how, how much do you know about the product, the sector, the services or the customer base? How hands-on are you with the role that you seek?
Considering how you can add value
If you have been working, it is time to consider your output. Have you been able to generate profits for your organisation? Have you contributed as an individual or in a team? Have you helped the organisation achieve its targets? Are you resourceful to add to the benefits of your potential employer? If your response is positive to most of these questions, you already harbour the skillsets needed by most employers.
Ask for feedback
Apart from being your own judge, the best way to identify your skillset is by consulting your managers, colleagues, teachers, professors, friends, business contacts, career coaches, etc. Help them understand what you seek, and the feedback you receive may help you find out skills you never knew you possessed.
For a student, your educational institution is perhaps the only way to gather feedback. However, for those who have working experience, it is a good idea to get your boss give a comprehensive feedback. Try to be diplomatic when you talk to your boss. It is not a great idea to initiate a discussion with the news of resignation. You are likely to receive a positive and strong feedback if you show interest in internal opportunities or your performance.
Once you are satisfied assessing yourself, getting yourself assessed, and have a detailed idea about the services and skillset you can offer a prospective employer, develop your CV.
We will shortly be introducing a Level 2 Award in Employability Skills to help you find a job. Join our mailing list if you would like to know when it is available. If you have the right skillset, and can see a suitable business opportunity, you could start your own business and the Level 3 Certificate in Business Start-up will help you do so.