Knowing your skills and competencies is an essential career tool in all professional fields.

Being able to articulate your skills to others is equally important.

For perfectionists, who are often too hard on themselves, it can be especially difficult to own up and speak about your skills.

Whether you’re preparing for a performance review conversation, discussing your career with a mentor, or contemplating how to present yourself to a prospective employer, you’ll want (and need) to highlight your skills and competencies.

Benefits of knowing your career skills

Here are a few compelling reasons why knowing, and being able to speak to others about, your skills matters:

Career advancement: When you can clearly communicate what you contribute, it can lead to opportunities such as interesting/new responsibilities within your current job, leadership roles, or other recognition.

Productive collaborations: When both you and your colleagues have a clearer understanding of your respective areas of expertise, this can foster productive collaborations.

Networking: Conveying what you do and how you can help others can build relationships and allows peers, mentors, and potential employers to more easily spot relevant connections or job opportunities that may be of interest to you.

Confidence: It feels good to claim your skills, talents and strengths and know how you contribute.

Adaptability: A good grasp of your skills helps you and others have an expanded understanding of your work and career possibilities.

Decision-making: Knowing your skills streamlines decision-making processes. You can quickly assess whether a job opportunity or career move is a good fit based on how well it matches your competencies.

4 (free) resources to know your career skills

Below are four resources you can use to generate or update your list of workplace skills.
  • A succinct overview of behavioural, leadership, and functional competencies. The post references youth, but the content of this short post applies to all career stages and ages.
  • A comprehensive list, organized according to abilities, attributes, interests, skills, knowledge, work context.

The Complete Guide to Transferable Skills 

  • An overview article that organizes skills into helpful categories (e.g., management, interpersonal, etc).
PhD Transferrable Skills (Career Center, University of Michigan)
  • A concise list of skills, organized in categories.

Questions for reflection as you review your work skills

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you reflect on your skills:
      1. Which of these skills do I regularly apply in my work?
      2. What are 1-2 skills do I want to build in the coming year?
        • Why were these moments meaningful to me?
        • What does this say about the work I like to do and what I need?
        • How would I describe the application of these skills to someone outside my field? (for people looking to transition into another area of work)
      3. Which skills am I good at, but suck the energy out of me?
      4. Which skill(s) do I want to build in the coming year?


      People who use their skills and strengths at work experience greater wellbeing and sense of satisfaction in their career. Book a free call to find out how I can support you in your career.

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