Identify Your Unique Skills

Now that you have rated your own current levels of key employability skills, it’s time to take an inventory of the other valuable skills you bring. Since everyone has a different background of experiences, everyone brings a unique mix of skills. Knowing what these are and how to describe them will be invaluable as you move forward in your career.

When people think about taking the next step in their careers, they often struggle to identify and articulate the skills they can bring to a workplace. The good news is that there are many ways of approaching this so that in the end, you have a much better appreciation of what your skills are and how to articulate them.

You’ve already started the process by looking at in-demand employability skills and thinking honestly about your strengths and weaknesses. In the next few activities, you’ll access some resources to help you identify and assess your skills.

Career Skills

A classic manila folder--a page peeks out from inside itPortfolio Activity #5 – Sort Your Skills

The Skill Sorter is an interactive drag and drop exercise developed by Queen’s University that allows you to categorize additional skills in a way that considers not just your proficiency level but also how confident you feel when using each skill. This activity will help you with your own personal skills reflection and goal setting. Once you have sorted all cards into the four quadrants, arrange them so they are all visible, then take a screenshot for your portfolio. Doing so will not only will not only save your progress, but it will also provide you with a better sense of what  skills represent areas of strength for you, as well as those you’d like to target for further development.

The O*NET Online web site is a great place to research the skills that are most important for your specific occupation.

Click to go to the O*NET website and look up your target occupation. Try searching by Keyword/Phrase (e.g. human resources specialist. climate change policy analyst, etc.). When you see your occupation of interest, click on it for a Summary report. Here’s you’ll see lists of both technical and transferable work skills that are important for someone in your target career – make note of these! Knowing what these important skills are can help you articulate your strengths during the job search process, as well as target other skills for development.

Skills, Tasks, and Accomplishments

To successfully accomplish a job or project, a person must complete a series of tasks. The application of skills allows you to perform tasks; the completion of tasks can lead to accomplishments! Take baking a cake for example. If the finished cake is the accomplishment, one of the component tasks you’ll need to perform is the action of making batter. To successfully make batter, you’ll need to possess the skill of appropriately using a measuring cup to measure ingredients (this relationship is depicted below).

Take a look at the Skills Reflection document that you created for your portfolio earlier on in the module. Chances are that while reflecting on your employability skills, you came up with some examples that might not have happened exclusively “in the workplace”. Skills you can apply in workplaces don’t always get developed in workplaces! The skill of using a measuring cup is not exclusive to the process of baking–you can use that same skill to do load of laundry or even feed your pet.

In this webpage from Marquette University, you’ll find several example lists of transferable skills you may have learned at home, at school, in your community, or in everyday life.

Instead of only starting with skills you think you have and then trying to come up with examples, another great way to zone in on your unique skillset is to start with your accomplishments.

Portfolio Activity #6 – Skills, Tasks, Accomplishments

Taking an accomplishment, then breaking it down into tasks and then skills, is a valuable technique for your career development activities. In the document builder below, list 3 of your biggest accomplishments. These can be projects you completed at work, school, or home. Then, below each accomplishment, list 3 or more of the tasks you carried out in order to accomplish the job or project. Finally, below each task, list 3 or more specific skills you used to carry out the task. We’ve provided a general example in the entry fields for you!

Media Attributions

  • Document File via CareerSpace
  • Lightbulb via CareerSpace
  • Measuring Cup, by Izwar Muis via Noun Project
  • Arrow, by Alice Design via Noun Project
  • Mixing Bowl, by @w@n !cons via Noun Project
  • Cake, by Loritas Medina via Noun Project

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