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.

Being good at working with your hands is a transferable skill

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 making 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:

  • employability skills
  • transferable skills
  • specialist skills.

Employability skills

A diagram of the seven essential employability skills, positive attitude, communication, teamwork, self-management, willingness tolearn, thinking skills, resilience

Seven employability skills

Employability skills are the skills, qualities and attitudes that employers say are essential for their workplace.

The skills are:

  1. Positive attitude
  2. Communication
  3. Teamwork
  4. Self-management
  5. Willingness to learn
  6. Thinking skills
  7. Resilience

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:

  • 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.

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.

Why you need to identify your skills

Identifying the skills you have will help you:

  • 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 10 Feb 2017