this way that way

A common theme amongst all of the career coaching clients I work with is a) they have a blind spot seeing their own skills and talents and b) how they can use them in other ways, i.e. possible new jobs or different careers to what they have done before.

I act as a pair of ‘wing mirrors’ to help them see their skills and be clear about where else they can use them.

In these times of redundancies and shrinking sectors caused by the impact of the coronavirus, this is a very important area to explore as part of your future-proof career.

What is a skill?

A skill is defined as: “cleverness at doing a thing, either from practice or a natural gift.”

Why do people find it hard to see their own skills?

Most people don’t think of themselves in terms of skills, and find it immodest to talk about their own ‘natural gifts’.

Common phrases that people express are: “I just do my job” or “it’s just what I do.”

It is not surprising therefore that people need support in seeing new career options for themselves.

People are discouraged from saying that they are clever and our specific and unique talents are rarely acknowledged or recognised by others. Other people may have thought about you are good at, but not shared this information with you, so it is worth asking to elicit this useful information.

In employer engagement research, frustration about lack of feedback is a common complaint from employees about their line managers, so giving feedback to your direct reports is a good thing to do to boost morale at this time if you are a manager.

Articulating the benefits you bring

Awareness of your specific skills and the ability to articulate them, sharing tangible examples of the benefits they bring is crucial in career success, especially when you are competing against a lot of good candidates.

Spell it out

For people seeking a new or different career, being explicit in helping others to see how your skills are useful in a related context is a must to convince your potential employer that you are up to the task, and not a risk. Self-awareness, confidence and the ability to market yourself, plus overcoming natural fears about change enable a change in career direction to be within reach.

Self-reflective questions

  • What’s my best skill and in what other contexts is it useful?
  • What work tasks make me feel energised?
  • What work activity can I not stop myself from doing?

Inspiring quote

“Believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities. Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.”

Norman Vincent Peale

5 tips to help you identify your transferable skills

1) Get someone to ask you how you do your job and to write down what you say and then share their perspective of your skills with you.

2) Think about something you do well naturally and write down the specifics using the third person. Practice saying “I am really good at, for example when ….” This makes it feel more comfortable and not ‘boastful.’

3) Analyse the ‘process’ you use to do your work step by step. Most people have a process incorporating certain skills but don’t see this, as they are too close to themselves. This can be turned into a model or infographic to use on your CV, on social media or on a personal web site.

4) Ask people you work with or live with for feedback about your specific skills and do the same for them.

5) If you want to fast track your awareness, get a career coach who is trained to see your skills and help you to see opportunities where they are useful that you may be unaware even existed.

Helping people to identify their skills, knowledge and experience and new context in which it can be applied is one of my best skills. This is a combination of analysis, lateral thinking, making connections, keeping up with trends in careers and skills, and working with people from many different sectors over the 20+ years that I have been doing career coaching.

Rachel BrushfieldIf you are at a major career crossroads and thinking about changing career direction, becoming self-employed or developing a portfolio career, we can help.

Why not get in touch for your free no obligation meeting?

Rachel Brushfield, Career Strategist and coach. ‘The Talent Liberator.

Save the dates! Coming soon.

Energise webinars to help you to market yourself.

10-12 Tuesday 11 May 2021 on Zoom: “Why me? What value do you bring?”

10-12 Tuesday 15 June 2021 on Zoom. “Marketing me: Proactive marketing.”

Contact us to find out more


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