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How can I identify my skills? How do I match my skills to a job description?

How can I identify my skills?

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Being able to identify your skills, and match them against the skills needed for a specific job or type of work, is an important skill in itself.

It can help you to:

Unfortunately, it can be hard to do, even for experienced job seekers.

But it’s not because you don’t have any. You have the skills. If only you could describe them to other people!

There’s no easy fix for this, but there are a few simple steps you can take to work out what your skills are, and be aware of how you’ve used them in the past. This will be useful for your CV, completing application forms and answering interview questions.

Step 1: List your life experiences – or draw a mind map of them

Take a large sheet of paper. Start noting down your life experiences over the last few years. For example:

They don’t have to be in any particular order. Just write down what comes into your head. Don’t expect to finish this activity straight away. Take your time. Go back to your list later, just in case you’ve forgotten anything important.  

Step 2: Identify and list the skills you’ve learned from your experiences

Take another large sheet of paper (or make a table in Word). Divide the page or table into three columns.

Label the first column ‘Experience’, the second ‘Tasks’ and the third ‘Skills’.

Now, look closely at each experience you’ve listed on the first sheet.

Take the time to do this exercise properly. You’ll soon discover you have more skills than you first thought.

Create your skills list using the entries in the third column. 

You can also complete the quick My Skills self-assessment in the Portfolio area of Planit. It's quick and easy to sign up. Our downloadable Skills Words and Qualities Words lists, at the end of this article, will also be useful.

Identifying your skills can also help you when you are making career decisions. How well do your strongest skills match up against the skills needed for the career, or careers, you are interested in?

However, when you are looking for work the next thing you need to know is how to relate or match your skills to the skills needed for a particular job.

Read the article How do I match my skills to a job description.

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Qualities Words
Skills Words
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