Assessing Your Skills

Career change may compel people to ask themselves challenging and fundamental questions. You may want to take a long hard look at yourself in a systematic and positive way which will help you take a clearer look at what you have to offer and at your strengths and weaknesses. Self Assessment is really critical for a number of practical reasons

  1. It enhances your self knowledge and allows you to plan your future career in a more structured and satisfying way
  2. It provides you with a list of your strengths and weaknesses which will be valuable to a new employer and which will help you with finding the right job for you
  3. It forms the basis of your CV
  4. It captures skills and experiences that you might otherwise have forgotten
  5. It gives you the confidence to deal with interviews in a very positive way
  6. It addresses areas of weakness and gives you a chance to think through how you can overcome these

Self Assessment follows a number of logical steps:

Step 1 - Generate Your Achievement List

Many people find it difficult to identify and analyse their achievements fully. Include everything you consider to be an accomplishment in all aspects of your life : Childhood, Education, Career, Leisure, Sports, Social, Political & Community activities. Number each achievement and include important dates, names of companies etc. For each achievement

  1. Describe the situation you found yourself in;
  2. Describe what you did about it;
  3. Detail the specific benefits to the company, the community etc.;
  4. Identify those factors which either helped or hindered you.

Step 2 - Review your and analyse your achievements, skills and benefits more thoroughly

Review each of your achievements for accuracy, clarity and objectivity - it is also useful to bounce them off someone you trust who will give you honest feedback. For each numbered achievement,

  1. Write down the benefits it brought about to the company;
  2. Write down the skills you had to use to make the project a success;
  3. Write down your own personal characteristics which helped you

Step 3 – Create your personal profile and identify your strengths and weaknesses

Make a table which allows you to build a profile of what skills and characteristics you have- it will highlight those attributes which really made you successful. Once you have fully completed this table, you will have a clear picture of those things that make you excel in your work and those areas which perhaps need some development. You should now have a clear insight into what your strengths and weaknesses are so list the top and bottom four of each. Review each one individually and prepare a development plan to help you with your weaknesses - this will show any prospective employer that you are proactively managing your own development. A development plan could be as simple as ' I will improve my pc literacy skills by completing the ECDL course by December '

Step 4 – Identify what you are looking for in an Employer and a Role

Make sure you have a clear picture as to what you are looking for in an employer and a job. Determine the 3 to 4 essential items without which you would have serious reservations about accepting a position in a company. Criteria can include any number of factors but you should consider the following and their importance to you:

  • Promotional prospects
  • Earning Potential
  • Social aspect to the job
  • Proximity to Home
  • Working Hours
  • Technical challenge
  • Leadership
  • Culture
  • Creativity
  • Recognition.

Then look for both a job and a company which offers these things.

Step 5 – Identify what makes you stand out

Every job seeker should have at least 2 / 3 things that really make them stand out. Your differentiators may include

  • excellent performance,
  • depth of knowledge,
  • completion of a complex projects on time 
  • a specific qualification level
  • impact on a company's botton line
  • Your profile should sum up what you have to offer and what makes you special

Step 6 –What jobs you would really like and CV content

You are looking for a job that you would really enjoy doing - if you enjoy it then you will excel at it. Identify the jobs that you would be happy doing for at least two to three years, list the experience, qualifications, skills and characteristics required for those jobs and identify any gaps that may exist - you may want to proactively fill those gaps if it is your perfect job.

Assemble all the positive selling points from your achievement list and put them under the following headings:

  • Education and Qualifications;
  • Special accomplishments at work;
  • Job activities and Skills;
  • Job titles and duration of jobs.