Understanding what you are good at starts with being able to quickly identify your skill-sets. Your skills are a mixture of attributes that employers look for when recruiting a new hire that indicate whether you have experience or an aptitude for performing the tasks associated with the role they wish to fulfil.

Here’s a quick guide to help you identify your particular skills-sets.

Why are skills important?

There are various hiring criteria that future employers look for in a job candidate; personality, qualifications and culture fit are just some of the many considerations. However, the one thing that is virtually guaranteed to make the recruiter move your CV to the ‘yes’ pile is how clearly you can express your capability for doing the job in terms of skills-sets.

So what is a skill?

Broadly speaking a skill can be defined as an action that produces a result. Your skills give you that ‘stand-out’ quality over other candidates. Identifying your skills and understanding how you can apply them to best effect to achieve results within a specific job role is what the recruiter really wants to know.

Your skills have the ability to make you memorable as well as extremely marketable when presented in the right context.

Companies searching for potential employees weigh up your skills to determine how you will benefit their organisation. By clearly emphasising your skills on your CV and during the interview process you demonstrate to the hiring manager what makes you different from the other candidates and the right person for the job.

The most commonly acknowledged skill-set categories are: knowledge-based, transferable skills and interpersonal skills.

Knowledge-based skills

Knowledge based skills are those acquired from experience. These may include educational attainment and additional training and practices that you have experienced within other organisations to enhance your expertise.

Knowledge-based skills vary depending upon the industry sector of each role but may include physical or technical skills like making things or dealing with equipment, computer skills, communication skills or managerial ability plus many more.

Transferable skills

Transferable skills are a core set of skills that we use to achieve results in a range of settings. For example project management is a highly transferable skill. The skill involved in being an effective project manager can easily be applied to a range of industries and sectors – the skill here is the ability to manage and deliver projects. This is the reason why hiring managers ask, “What could you offer the company?” Transferable skills are important because companies look for quality employees who will improve the outcomes of the organisation.

Transferable skills vary depending on the experience and versatility of each job candidate if you are a manager you will have people management skills, stakeholder management skills and people management skills. All of these skills can be applied to a range of organisations and situations.

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are the skills we employ to achieve results in groups or in our one-to-one interactions with others. Effective interpersonal skills can be both verbal and non verbal for example, a customer service or sales person may employ active listening skills to ensure that the needs of customer are correctly identified so that their requirements can be fulfilled appropriately.

Sometimes our skills are not always obvious to us so here are four tips to help you identify yours.

Start with your current job description

Look at your current or previous job description – what are the key skill words?

Hobbies and interests

If you have any hobbies or interests – what skills do you specifically use to achieve results in this area?

Use a recent work project

Breakdown the elements of a recent work project – what obstacles did you over come to make it a success? What actions did you take to ensure that you achieved your objective?

Get someone to help you

Ask a close colleague or friend to identify the things you’re good at. What skills do you use to achieve consistent results?

Once you have identified your core skills consider reviewing your CV to ensure that your skill-sets are presented to your best advantage.

Many people struggle to identify what their particular skill-sets are and therefore are unable to use them to their full advantage in their job search, so keep this quick guide to hand to help you identify your particular skills-sets and get these written into your CV and cover letter.

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