How to identify your skillset (and why it is crucial to job search success)

Refined Global

What’s the most important element you need to consider when job searching? A polished CV? A great portfolio? Interview practice? All of those elements are certainly important but what is truly vital is that you know your value and to do that you need to know what your skillset is.

That doesn’t mean a list of the qualifications or direct experience you have (although they are also important). At RGR we always advise our candidates to take some time for self-reflection and examine their skills, both hard and soft. 

Often following a self-assessment, candidates find that they have far more to offer an employer than they gave themselves credit for and can demonstrate that in their application and then at the interview stages. Further, you might find that your skills apply to other roles or sectors, areas that you hadn’t considered before but that could be the perfect fit.

Here’s how to conduct a skills audit, assess everything you can offer and work out what those skills can be transferred to.

Recall your greatest accomplishments

Reflect upon your greatest achievement at work and analyse which skills you employed to succeed. Thinking about real-life examples enables us to unmask skills more easily.

Take your mind back to the task or project, dissect the skills needed to complete it, and note every one of them down. It’s a great idea to keep a note of your achievements as you accomplish them so that you have them all in one place when it comes to applications and interviews for new jobs.

Not only does this exercise help to identify key skills to yourself, to recruiters and to employers, but it will also help demonstrate them to employers in a meaningful way.  

Ask others 

Sometimes it’s hard to think about what we’re great at, especially if you’re a particularly modest person.

If you’re struggling, ask friends, family and your recruitment consultant to list what they perceive to be your strengths and skills. They will often give a different perspective and identify skills that you perhaps hadn’t even thought of as skills if you do them all the time.

Our recruitment consultants help all of our candidates to figure out their skillsets and coach them to present these in the best possible manner at the interview stages.  

Think about what you are commonly asked to do

What is the one main thing people come to you for? This will probably be different for people in different areas of your life (friends, family members, colleagues) but there may be some overlap. This will give you a good indication of what others view as your strengths.

At work, is it always you that people approach to undertake a specific task? If so perhaps that skill is unique or maybe you simply excel at it.

Compile a VSI table

Outlining your values (V), skills (S) and interests (I) is a great way to not just figure out what you’re good at, what you’ve learnt and what you can offer but also what you enjoy doing.

Your values are the fundamentals that matter most to you, your interests are what you enjoy doing and your skills (both hard, or formal, technical, and soft, or transferrable) are what you’re good at.

Make a list of each and then cross-reference them, finding the overlaps. This will help you to solidify your key strengths and also identify what you want from a role and a company.  

Key future-proof soft skills

You can train to learn a hard skill but soft skills are developed through experience in the workplace and other areas of life.

Employers are now recognising the value of soft skills and placing emphasis on them to a far greater degree. The pandemic has shown the vital importance of skills such as agility, adaptability, flexibility, emotional intelligence and the ability to handle pressure and employers will be looking for candidates to demonstrate these skills. Also key is the ability to collaborate and communicate effectively. As AI is increasingly used in business, soft skills that can’t be replaced by automation is becoming ever more important. 

Taking stock of all our skills doesn’t just allow us to knock up a list to show to recruiters and employers, it enables us to present them in a way that adds value and is meaningful, demonstrating what we can bring to the table.

The self-knowledge gained also aids confidence and helps to give more informed answers at the interview stages. Know and understand your skillset and the strengths it gives you as an employee and you will not only do well in the recruitment process, you will find a job that is the right fit for you.