Defining Human Skills: Skills for Your Future Career

Skills Identification for Determining Your Future Career

person_working_at_deskAn important part of the re-careering process is identifying your natural talents, personality traits, and learned skills that you have acquired through your work-life. You must identify skills that you like using, are good at and want to use in your future career.

To determine this, all Career Design clients go through the CDA Skills Identification Workshop Series, in which they complete 32 to 40 hours of in-depth study in group participation and self-paced skills identification exercises.

A skill is the ability to do something well. It comes from one’s knowledge, experience, or aptitudes and relates to competence, excellence in performance, expertness and proficiency.

First, you need to define the different classes of your Human Skills, so you can translate them to your future career:

Functional/Transferable Skills

  • Instinctive, natural, rooted in aptitudes — remain constant.
  • Acquired as natural talents — having a “knack.”
  • Show up early in life but are refined and developed through experience and education.
  • Taken for granted or may remain latent — present but not visible, apparent or actualized.  Can be dormant or under-developed, existing as potential only.
  • Transfer to different working environments — key to entering, redirecting, or changing careers.
  • Number of functional skills vary from 6 – 500.
  • Expressed as verb and an object in writing short stories, communicating with team-members.

Self-Management/Adaptive Skills

  • Rooted in temperament, personality or character traits.
  • Acquired in early years through family, peers, school.
  • Frequently referred to as “chemistry” between individuals.
  • Relate to ability to handle the demands of environment: conformity or independence, stability or change, structured or unstructured.  Expresses how one relates to space, time, others, care of property, control of impulses, dress and pace, etc.
  • Related to personality types, i.e., social, realistic, investigative, conventional, artistic, enterprising.
  • Crucial to good “job fit”: responsible for much hiring and firing.
  • Expressed as adjectives — i.e., intuitive, organized, analytical, flexible.

Technical/Work Content/Specific Knowledge Skills

  • Found in the job descriptions.
  • Rooted in job experience, personal interest, hobby and/or college major.
  • Learned through job experience, training, formal education or private study, may be subject to licensing.
  • Related to job performance in a particular occupation, field or profession.
  • Limited to specific fields or occupations, plus their special language, jargon and concepts.
  • Expressed as nouns — i.e., accounting, law, finance, marketing, counseling, teaching, etc.

Second, write out a list of your skills – those you are aware you have, use daily in your work and life, and even those you would like to use more. Identify which class each skills falls under. Doing this exercise will help you to identify the skills you actually enjoy doing because it comes natural, the skills you have acquired out of adaption, and those that you learned for a particular job / work role.

This process is just one of 50+ skills identification exercises I work through with CDA clients. It will help you to understand your Human Skills and begin the process of identifying which careers would be a natural fit for you in your future career.