Skills, Experience, Qualifications & Interests
Assessing what you have to offer?
Interpersonal/Transferable skills What are transferable skills? Transferable skills are skills that you have gained from your previous and present job, from any hobbies you have had and from various other activities that you might have been involved in, for example coaching a sports team or doing some volunteer work. You might have gained transferable skills from courses you have done, e.g., speaking in group or research for project work.
Why are they important?
Let’s put it this way. Two equally qualified people have applied for a job as a shop assistant. At the job interview, each is asked if they think that they would be good at the job. The first person answers with a simple “yes”, the second one also answers “yes”, and continues to discuss why they think they would be good. Both are well qualified for the job, but the second candidate has better ‘communication skills’, i.e. is simply better able to communicate when asked for information. Both may have the same experience and qualifications; but the better developed ‘transferable’ skill of communication gives the edge to the second candidate.
There are different types of transferable skills that include: Communication; Research and Planning; Human Relations and Organisation; Management; Leadership; Work Survival.
|Employers Like People Who Are|
|Able to follow instructions accurately||Organised|
|Tidy in their appearance||Able to handle problems|
|Enthusiastic||Able to work as part of a Team|
|Willing to learn||Able to work with customers|
|Proud of their work||Use their initiative|
During the job application and interview process, employers look for applicants with two skill sets: hard skills and soft skills.
Hard skills are teachable abilities or skill sets that are easy to quantify.
Examples of hard skills include:
- Proficiency in a foreign language
- A degree or certificate
- Typing speed
- Machine operation
- Computer programming
- Knowledge of specific tourist attractions
These hard skills are often listed in your cover letter and on your C.V., and are easy for an employer or recruiter to recognise. They may also be called Technical skills.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are subjective skills that are much harder to quantify. Also known as “people skills” or “interpersonal skills,” soft skills relate to the way you relate to and interact with other people.
Examples of soft skills include:
- Time management
- Problem Solving
- Active Listening
- Positive Attitude
Skills Employers Look For
While certain hard skills are necessary for any position, employers are looking increasingly for job applicants with particular soft skills. This is because, while it is easy for an employer to train a new employee in a particular hard skill (such as how to use a certain computer program), it is much more difficult to train an employee in a soft skill (such as patience).
Emphasise both Hard and Soft Skills
During the job application process, you should therefore be sure to emphasise both your hard and soft skills. This way, even if you lack a particular hard skill required by the company, you can emphasize a particular soft skill that you know would be valuable in the position. For example, if the job involves working on a number of group projects, be sure to emphasise your experience and skill as a team player and your ability to communicate with team members.
Sometimes people do not know what it is they are good at or what it is that they want to do.
Below are some very useful self- assessment and career interest quizzes which may help a person begin to answer some of these questions.
Skills Assessment Exercises
Here is an opportunity to do short skills assessment below to identify how you rank yourself on these three skills areas.
Please tick whether you rate yourself High/ Medium/ Low in each category. Add any other skills that you feel you could include.
|Can Work Alone|
|Willing to Learn|
|Go the Extra Mile|
|Attention to Detail|
|Art & Design|
|Using My Hands|
|Works well with others|
|Leading Teams & Individuals|
|Open to Suggestions|
People Skills Self-Assessment Exercise While doing this exercise, consider all of your experience to date.
Take note of the activities and responsibilities that are a normal part of your school, college, or work life; your hobbies, involvement in sports, and even your family life.
Involvement in any of these activities offers the opportunity to develop many of the skills detailed below, even if only in a small way.
After completing this self-assessment exercise, complete the Summary and Action Plan.
Well Developed : I show this skill often, and others know I can be relied upon to use this skill effectively when needed.
Some Experience : I have an opportunity to develop this skill and have used it in a work, home or school/college environment in a small way.
Undeveloped : I have not had the opportunity to develop this, or have not taken opportunities to develop this.
|PEOPLE SKILLS||Well Developed||Some Experience||Undeveloped|
|Sensitivity to Others: Ability to maintain a deep interest in the concerns & feelings of others. Inclined to find ways to help people.|
|Insight into others: Has developed an understanding of what makes people do what they do, & is tolerant of the actions of others. Good at reading the moods of others.|
|Openess: Is open to, and encourages communication with all people at all levels. Inclined to share personal experiences and trust people.|
|Respect: Takes the feelings, needs, thoughts wishes & preferences of others (including other cultures/races…) into consideration, & gives them worth & value.|
|Speaking: Can present information clearly & confidently to other individuals and groups. Maintains good eye contact & can keep the attention of an audience or individual.|
|Active Listening: Gives full attention to what other people are saying, takes time to understand the points being made, asks questions as needed & does not interupt inappropriately.|
|Conversation: Speaks clearly & listens attentively. Attends to the other person, not to oneself. Seeks clarification where necessary & attends to body language appropriately.|
|Persuasion: Shows ability to influence peoples beliefs & actions. Easily wins people’s cooperation & support for ideas or activities.|
|Team Membership: Works easily with groups of people & shows loyalty & commitment to the teams objectives. Attends to each members views equally.|
|Team Participation: Openly expresses views & opinions within a group. Shows willingness to take on tasks & resposibilities as appropriate to one’s experience.|
|Leadership: Has the ability to communicate a vision or a goal to others & lead them towards achieving it. Pushes for action & results & wins support & help of others.|
Skills summary action plan exercise
Now that you are familiar with some of the most important transferable skills desired by employers, it is a good idea to take note of those you have developed the most.
These will be some of the things you would mention when writing your CV, along with some examples of how they were developed or used.
You can also use this information when preparing for a job interview.
An employer will be looking to see what skills you have, and for evidence of how you have actually applied them.
They won’t accept that you have them just because you say so.
Fill in the section below to summarise your most developed skills.
|MOST DEVELOPED SKILLS||Comments (e.g. How I developed this, Where I used it …)|
What about those skills that you have not yet been able to develop?
These could be the very things that could go against you when looking for a job.
Remember, most employers want just about all of the skills mentioned in this exercise, and they may well ask you if you have had any experience of using such skills.
So why not set targets for developing some of your weaker skills? Start by listing three of the skills you would like to get more experience with, and then note some of the activities you could become involved in to help develop them.
Ask for suggestions from friends and advisors if you can’t think of activities yourself.
|SKILLS TO DEVELOP||Comments: (e.g. How I can get experience/improve these…)|
If you enjoyed doing this and would like to learn more about yourself, you can follow the link below for a more extensive careers inventory quiz.
(Follow link for Careers Portal Interest-Profiler)