How to Assess Your Career Skills

How to Assess Your Career Skills

A skill is the ability to successfully execute a task within a given amount of time. When you perform tasks you are skilled at, it is natural to do well in them because they have become a routine or hobby. Some have even referred to their skills as their second skin. In the workforce, skills are the strengths and talents an employee brings to the table. Skills can come naturally to a person but they can also be acquired through training and experience.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that hard skills and soft skills are the new oil. Just a college degree does not cut it in the hiring world today. They are the building blocks of success that all employers look out for in a prospective employee. An employee’s skill set helps him excel in his job and adds positively to the growth of the company he works for. Having a clear understanding of your skills will help you hone them, choose your major in college, and consequently, your career course. Many job seekers hardly take a step back to scrutinize themselves and figure out their specific skills and talent. If you do not know your strengths, it is going to be difficult to stand out among thousands of candidates. Your skills point you out. It convinces a recruiter that you have more potential, something extra to offer. The skillset you possess is your unique selling point.

You now know how important skills are. How do you identify them and hone them so you can use them to your benefit? Some candidates or job seekers may think that they know their skill set but it is possible to underestimate or overestimate your capabilities. If you underestimate your skill, you will not only fail the interview screening but also undercut your values. A good understanding of your skill helps you know your worth. This knowledge can help you know your stand while negotiating job terms. This article is here to help you assess yourself and know what skills you own.

 Three major categories of skills

  1. Transferable/functional skills
  2. Knowledge-based Skills
  3. Personal trait and attitude

Here, we would talk more about transferable and functional skills. They are competencies that are transferable to any work setting. You can develop this skill in many ways, including jobs and internships, coursework and school projects, volunteer and extracurricular activities, hobbies, and daily life responsibilities. Types of skills under this category, include Communication skills, information management,  organization management, interpersonal skills, etc.

Now that you understand what skills are, ask yourself some key questions:

What do I do well? What areas for development do I have?, What are the skills I enjoy doing?


Steps To Assess Your Career Skills

1) What do you love about your career?

Think about your current and previous job roles, and make a list of all the activities you carried out. If you are just an entry-level candidate with no experience, then think of volunteer activities, internships, extracurricular activities. Now, underline all the activities you enjoyed doing or the ones you excelled in. Also, include a list of other things you excel in, that are not part of your work role. Your skills are directly linked to your greatest strengths.

2) Zero in on hard skills

Hard skills can also be called technical skills. They are job-related knowledge and abilities that employees need to do their job duties effectively. They are job-specific skills, relevant to each role and field. Each role in a company will need a unique hard skills list. For example, an accountant will need to know how to balance statements, while for that knowledge is not relevant for a sales staff. Hard skills help managers identify candidates who are good on paper. These skills are measurable.  Numerical or yes/no criteria is a way to classify Hard skills. Hard skills can easily be evaluated through resumes and portfolios. Hard skills examples include: bookkeeping, analytics, inventory control, and  programming

3) Zero in on soft skills

Go beyond your technical know-how. Some of the essential professional skills are not taught in a classroom or examined on paper. They are usually associated with nature and are also honed and developed. This set of skills are known as soft skills. They are general characteristics, relevant to personality traits. They are personal qualities that help employees thrive in a workplace. Soft skills are often intangible or hard to quantify and are usually described with qualitative scales. Soft skills include analytical skills, listening and communication skills, leadership skills, adaptability, collaborations, and creativity.

4)  What do you lose track of time doing?

What activities or tasks do you engage in, that completely take your mind off other things. You spend hours doing it, but hardly notice time has passed. It could be a personal hobby or a professional task you enjoy engaging in. For instance, you might be the type that enjoys developing content for your company page, then you might consider including excellent writing skills in your résumé. It could be a personal hobby like arranging and keeping everywhere neat, you can include excellent organizational skills in your résumé.

5) Look at your performance review

Every good manager sets goals for all employees under him. Companies assess the progress of their employees from time to time. These are known as performance reviews.  The managers carry out performance reviews weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly. Key performance indicators are criteria for assessing employees. An employee who truly wants to identify his skills, can go through the performance review of several months, and extrapolate the indicators he usually performs well in. The performance review will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Do not only focus on your strengths but also try to develop areas where you fall short.

6) Get feedback from colleagues, friends, and family

If you truly want to know about your strengths and weaknesses, the easiest way to identify them is to ask others.  But in this scenario, you are looking to get feedback for your job performance, so the best people to ask are your colleagues at work. Try to get feedback from close and sincere colleagues. This is because your close colleagues might lie to your face to keep up the relationship. Go to people who will truly communicate your faults and your talents to you.

7) Take an online behavioral test

A lot of employers have considered this test when assessing a candidate. It helps them decide if a candidate’s personality and interests align with that of the company’s objectives. Employers believe that a candidate’s answer to a situation presented online will decide how he’s going to behave. After writing this test, the computer normally examines you through already specified options. The computer gives you the result immediately after submitting the test. A candidate can also take advantage of such structured tests, to decide his strengths and weaknesses.

8)  Your résumé with your new skills

A résumé is something that gives people an idea about your experiences. Be it an educational experience or a professional experience. Your résumé should also contain your skills, soft or hard skills. It helps the interviewer or whoever is reading it to learn about your strengths. So after you have gone through all the steps above and noted down your skills, the next step is to include them in your résumé.

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