Assessing your skills can help you gain confidence and set yourself apart in interviews, but how can you audit your skills in the first place? How do you do it in a structured way that will yield concrete results and make you feel prepared for your next interview or manager one-on-one? We’ll break it down below.
Why do a skills audit in the first place?
Taking stock of what you bring to the table helps you strategize your next conversation with a manager or recruiter by laying out exactly what you can offer. Skills audits can involve listing out your qualifications, certifications and your professional experience, but they can also help you see which transferable skill sets you’ve acquired through everyday life.
Good businesses know that employability is a much more holistic concept than a list of work accomplishments. Interviewers want to see evidence of your capabilities outside of the technical essentials required in the field. That’s where knowing your transferable skills can really come in handy.
Auditing your skills lets you think strategically about why you’re a perfect fit for a role. Not only will this demonstrate to your interviewer that you would add value to their organization (or to your manager when negotiating a promotion, but will also give you more confidence when reviewing your skills with someone else.
Start with general ideas.
Skills like languages, teamwork, time management, and leadership are universal assets in any professional environment. Can you think of other traits like these? Write all of them down. Then go through the list you’ve created and circle the skills you’ve demonstrated in the past (professional or otherwise) and add concrete examples.
Structure how you’re going to convey those examples.
Once you’ve compiled your skills and examples, you’ll want to think about how you can best communicate those stories to your audience in a succinct way. A popular technique to use for this is called S.T.A.R., which stands for Situation, Task, Action, Response (or Result).
For each of the examples you came up with before, break them down using S.T.A.R. to clearly communicate what you want your audience to know. . Here’s an example of how you could demonstrate your time management, communication, and organizational skills:
Situation: You recently moved into a new apartment.
Task: You wanted to be unpacked and settled into your new space within two weeks of moving there, in time for the holidays. This meant that you needed to act strategically when packing boxes to prepare for the move.
Action: Instead of throwing everything into boxes in the couple of days leading up to the move, you planned ahead by selling and donating unwanted items so that you wouldn’t waste time or energy transporting unnecessary things. You washed and folded clothes so that they could be put away immediately. You also color-coded the tape on moving boxes by room, so that each box could be put directly into the corresponding new room and communicated this system to your movers when they arrived.
Response: Because you planned ahead and approached the task in an organized way, you and your movers were able to get everything transported within the allotted moving time, and you were able to quickly unpack your items within the timeframe you set out.
Break down examples like the one above for every skill you want to showcase in an interview. Soon enough, you’ll be prepared to talk about quite a few skills at the right opportunity. Remember: you’ve got what it takes to get your career to the next level; auditing your skills just helps you prove it.
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