Job Search Guy

Categorizing Your Skills

When working on résumés and cover letters, most individuals find it difficult to categorize the skills they have acquired. Appropriate skills to add to a résumé can come from a variety of sources – paid employment, volunteering and even hobbies can provide excellent skill base opportunities. Employers look for a variety of skills, and typically want a more well-rounded individual that simply a diploma or degree provides.

On your résumé always included a highlighted skills section at the top which describes your transferrable skills (those skills you can bring from employment, volunteering & hobbies that will strengthen your ability to perform the job). Begin by classifying your skills under the following headings:

Numerical Skills: skills used in counting, calculating, measuring, estimating and budgeting.

Communication Skills: skills used in reading, writing, talking, speaking in public and listening.

Leadership Skills: skills used in making decisions, supervising, initiating, planning , organizing and coaching.

Sense Awareness Skills: skills used with colour, shape discrimination, depth perception and sound.

Logical Thinking: skills used in problem solving, investigating, assessing, analyzing and testing.

Helping Skills: skills used in serving, enjoying people, treating, cooperating, facilitating and counselling.

Organizational Skills: skills used in managing information, filing, scheduling, coordinating and classifying.

Technical Skills: skills used in using computers, operating or maintaining equipment, constructing and measuring.

Self Management Skills: skills used in maintaining health, adapting, risk taking, learning and building relationships.

Being Creating and Innovate Skills: skills used in inventing, designing, experimenting/adapting, performing, drawing and writing.

At first glance, one may notice that there are several items that fall under different headings. For example, measuring falls under both Numerical Skills and Technical Skills. Once a list is compiled of one’s skills, it will be self-evident which heading is most valuable based on how many skills are listed beneath. But do not rely simply on which headings have the most information. One also needs to look at the type of employment they are seeking before deciding which skills are actually transferrable to any
given type of work.

Employment counsellors see more than my fair share of résumés. Typically what is missing is the transferrable skills that can be brought to the new position. Simply listing employers and job titles is not necessarily sufficient. The activities performed by the same job title at different employers can vary, and thus, it is best to spell these items out for prospective employers. If the employer is left to infer what you have done at any particular job, they may over or under estimate your skills.


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