What’s your skill set?
Until recently, I never really understood what a person’s ‘skill set’ is supposed to be. I used to think it was the things you could do, like be able to juggle or ride a bike, but I now know that that’s not exactly right!
When writing a CV, for example, you are supposed to show your skill set by writing down the skills you have and by doing so, what you are able to bring to a new employer. I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I always find it difficult to ‘talk myself up’ and put forward the positive attributes I have. Why? I think it might be because I’ve been taught not to gloat and be too over-confident. But how will you ever get anywhere in life if you don’t have the ability to promote yourself? The truth is, you probably can, but you will struggle. After all, how will anyone know how much of asset you are to a new role (in whatever shape that is) if you don’t tell them?
Perhaps the key to all this is be somewhere in the middle – be aware of potentially being too over-confident, but also be aware that promoting yourself as a person is going to get you places in your life. I think where I was thinking wrongly was that a skill isn’t something you necessarily have to learn, it can be something you already have. Skills can be things like leadership skills, communication skills, even teamwork skills, and these are ones that you may possess without even realising it because they have instead been learnt through the experiences you have gone through in your life so far. They are things that you already own, live with, and use every day. However, until you look for what your personal qualities are, you may not know that they don’t actually need to be found, just realised (and written down if they are going in a CV).
I think that it depends on the type of person you are for how easy it can be to ‘find’ these skills. I have on more than one occasion stared at a blank piece of paper where my skills and attributes are meant to be. In my experience, the more you do ‘talk yourself up’ the easier it becomes. Looking at yourself and working out what other people see in you can be an extremely uplifting task to carry out, and asking other people’s opinions of what your skill set is might be the key to unlocking whatever it is inside you that may not be allowing you to realise them.
Whatever your skill set, it is always important to remember that you have one, and whatever it may look like, the positive skills you possess will be the tools you can call on at different times in your life. Maybe just by knowing what these tools are can help you get through any tough hurdle you might face…or just writing a CV.
Sarah Keeping MBPsS MSc PgDip GDip BA (Hons)
Follow Sarah on twitter at @keepingapproach