Identifying Your Skills and Interests
Happiness with any job starts with doing interesting work. Begin your job search by examining your interests. Ask yourself some questions.
- What kind of jobs look like fun to you?
- What kind of work would you like to do?
- Do you like to work with your hands?
- Are you a people person?
- Do you prefer indoors or outdoors?
- Do you like to work alone or with others?
Knowing your interests will help you decide what kinds of jobs you’re well suited for and what kinds you may want to avoid.
The best way to find out about any job is talk with someone who already does it. Ask your friends about their jobs and places of employment. Ask parents or adult friends.
If you already know what kind of career you’d like in the future, you may want to look for jobs that have even a small relationship to that field. For instance, if you would like be a veterinarian, apply at veterinarian clinics, local pet stores or the zoo. If you would like to be a cook, try to find a job at a restaurant.
Know Your Skills
The average person has 500 to 800 skills, yet most people can only identify a few and are often unable to describe them to an employer.
You need to identify five to 10 skills that are the most attractive to potential employers. The more skills you have identified, the easier it will be to convince a potential employer that you have what it takes to do the job. Following are some skills that you may have but don’t recognize.
Job Content Skills
Job content skills are those specific to a job or occupation. Along with the skills you used in previous jobs, you may have developed job skills through education, hobbies, community activities, volunteer activities and life experiences.
Self Management Skills
Sometimes called “personality traits” these self-management skills are the skills you use day by day to get along with others and survive. They are the skills that make you unique. Here are a few examples of personality traits:
Write down some traits you believe best describe you. Now for each trait, write a couple of sentences that illustrate how you have shown these qualities. For example: “I have shown I am dependable by arriving on time or early for all my scheduled shifts. When I was sick I made sure to find a replacement to work my shift.”
These are the skills that can transfer from one job to another. Many skills can be applied to a variety of activities. They can transfer from one activity to another.
Identify Your Skills
Now it’s time to identify your own skills. Start by writing down different kinds of jobs you have done. Focus on things that demonstrate skills and experiences that might interest employers. List the skills involved in accomplishing each task. Be sure to include job, self management and transferable skills.
Here is an example:
I worked for the summer as an administrative assistant. Tasks included answering telephones and completing paperwork. Skills included communicating, listening, conflict resolution, word processing, research, clear writing, meeting deadlines and being detail oriented.
Knowing your interests and skills will help you focus on the jobs you might like to do and prepare you for a productive job search.