Phase 4: Skill Analysis
Once you have completed your research inventory and/or career exploration and identified a few realistic employment options, it is time to prepare a skill analysis. What is a skill analysis, you ask? It is a combination of soft skills/transferable skills, technical skills, education, accomplishments and experience. This is also an excellent exercise for preparing the ground work to develop your next resume!
For clarification purposes, let’s take a look at what each of these skills represent;
Soft Skills are also commonly referred to as Transferable Skills. They are attributes that define personal characteristics that you have acquired through all of your life experiences, including: jobs, volunteering, committees, school, projects, parenting, hobbies, and sports. They describe things such as; personality traits, communication style, time management, team and individual work ethics and computer proficiencies and can be transferred into a variety of different employment opportunities.
Most often these characteristics are what you identify and define in your resume as “Highlights of Qualifications” or “Summary” or “Professional Profile” or “Executive Summary.” No matter which headline you use, soft skills/transferable skills are typically the first category of information that employers will see on a resume, followed by brief statements that reflect your strongest characteristics. Below are some examples of “Key Words” to describe your strongest transferable skills
- Soft Skills/Transferrable Skills: oral & written communication, bi-lingual, multi-lingual, problem solving, mechanically inclined, organized, detail oriented, time management, analytical thinking, logical, critical thinking, interpersonal communication, empathetic, loyal, dedicated, honest, trustworthy, reliable, goal oriented, creative, energetic, active listener, organized, focused, quick to learn, patient, friendly, flexible, personable, consultative, caring, positive, eager, charismatic, multi-tasker, team player, self-directed, enthusiastic, diplomatic, tactful, leadership, negotiation, proactive, efficient, effective, positive, exemplary, proficient
Technical Skills are the industry specific skills and proficiencies required to perform tasks related to the job(s) you have done or are applying for. Perhaps the best practice is to define the industry or job title first and then define your skills within…this is a good way to flush out all of your technical skills and proficiencies within the industries/job titles that you worked and will also be helpful when developing your new resume.
Let’s say you worked as an administrative assistant, you would first write down/type “Office Administration” and then list/define all of the things you did in that role, such as; multi-line phones, filing, typing, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook; Greet customers, planned events, arranged meetings, scheduled appointments, managed database, received, opened and distributed mail; etc…
Repeat this process with all of the positions you have held within the last 10 years, even if you think it’s not relevant because it was a short-term or a seasonal position. ALL of your experience matters in this exercise! Please feel free to use this “Employment, Volunteer and Education History” tool to help you document your information.
Below are general examples, but when you identify your technical skills, be sure to define the specifics; i.e., Heavy equipment operator…what heavy equipment do you have experience operating? Industry Software…What brand(s), which version(s) and what program(s)? Construction…what kind? What did you do? What tools did you use?
- Technical Skills: Computer, Internet, Intranet, Microsoft Office, (Other industry specific software including accounting, logistics, project management, web building, graphic design, etc…) blueprints, schematics, research, reporting, payroll, AP/AR, machine operation, heavy equipment operator, power tools, statistical analysis, budgeting, grant writing, fundraising, POS registers, cash handling, automotive, sales, manufacturing, managerial, supervisory, restaurant, food service, construction, warehouse, landscaping, engineering, Installation, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, renovations
Education represents any and all education you have, whether completed, continuing or incomplete. It further defines where you acquired the education, what degrees, certificates, diplomas, and designations you have, and whether you did a practicum and where you did it.
- Education includes: high school, college, trade school, university, independent studies, workplace education, practicums, industry training, and professional development…This is all about higher learning. And again, this information will be useful to helping you develop your next resume.
Something to keep in mind; if you took a computer course in 1982, and have no other time spent working with a computer, chances are that your knowledge between then and now is not relevant to anything in today’s workforce and you may want to consider upgrading…like now! Very few occupations (not all) anymore don’t require some level of computer literacy and if this is an area you don’t acquire some training for, you may experience difficulties finding work.
If you are interested in upgrading your computer skills and feel you can do this independently, without a classroom environment, a great resource that offers FREE training is gcflearnfree.org. You can also try your public library, as they may offer free classes both online and in a classroom environment.
- Employment and Volunteer experience are your work and volunteer history and achievements over the last 10 years. They are separate categories but all relevant to your knowledge, experience and skills.
Just like your soft/transferable skills, your accomplishments and experience may also include: volunteering, work history, committees, community projects, parenting, hobbies, and sports.
Up next…The last and final phase of your career planning process “Time for Change – Phase 5: Job & Employer Research”