Figure out your skills

Being able to identify all the skills you have can open you up to more career options. It can also help you work out if you have any skill or knowledge gaps that can be addressed with further training.

What are skills?

A skill is the ability to do something. We are not born with skills – we develop them through experiences in life and work. 

Skills can be simple, such as cooking toast, or more complex, such as playing a musical instrument.

You don't always think something is a skill until you actually do it. When I was working as a checkout operator I thought I wasn't confident enough talking to people I didn't know. But as I dealt with more and more people, I became more confident.

Chelsea Harmer

Chelsea Harmer

Completed Airline Qualification

What different types of skills are there?

In the workplace you will use a combination of different skills. 

These skills are:

  • transferable skills
  • self-management skills
  • specialist skills.

Transferable skills

A transferable skill is one that can be used in a variety of situations or jobs - you transfer them from one job to another. 

For example, being able to use a drill is a job-specific skill – but one that involves hand-eye co-ordination, which is a transferable skill.

Examples include:

  • problem solving
  • able to motivate and organise others
  • able to work with facts and figures
  • good verbal and communication skills
  • accuracy and/or an eye for detail
  • able to recognise and meet new challenges.

Transferable skills are like building blocks from which you can develop many more skills and, because of this, are in high demand by employers.

Self-management skills

Self-management skills enable you to be ready to work well in different environments with a variety of people.

Examples include:

  • able to work confidently under pressure
  • reliability and integrity
  • meeting deadlines
  • being motivated
  • showing initiative.

Specialist skills

Specialist skills usually relate to a specific job or group of jobs.

Examples include:

  • fluency in a language
  • a heavy vehicle driver's licence
  • ability to use specific computer programs and technical equipment.

Identify your skills

When planning the next steps in your career, it's important to identify the skills and competencies you have. This will help you to:

  • decide what sort of job you might like to do
  • decide what areas you need to focus your study or training on
  • write your CV if you are applying for a job.

Updated 21 Jul 2016