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Articulating Your Skills

The ability to articulate your skills to a potential employer is the number #1 most important, can’t get a good job without it, thing that any college student or recent graduate should have down by the time they sit down for an interview. So what are your skills and how do you go about researching the things that you do best and thing things that could make you money?

For some people, this process couldn’t be easier. “Give me a piece of paper, a pen and 5 minutes and I’ll have those for you in no time.” For others (including myself), this particular process turns into a complicated, stressful, self-reflective anxiety frenzy. Put me in front of a group of people and I could talk for an hour about nothing, but ask me to describe myself and my skills and I would (used to) break into a nervous sweat.

The good news is, there are a lot more people in the world that fall into the second, self-reflective anxiety attack category. Better yet, there are several helpful tools and strategies to get you from panic-mode to calm, cool and collected.

Here are a few suggestions that can help you articulate your skills:

1 – Strength Finder 2.0

Any career services expert will put this book at the top of the list when it comes to defining your skills. The “Gallup System” uses a 34 theme or defining adjective method to find the 5 words that best describe your personality and talents. After taking a lengthy but informative questionnaire style online assessment and identifying your 5 key traits, the assessment kicks back a 15 page breakdown of tools that can help you make decisions about the type of work you should be doing to best match the professional characteristics that make you extraordinary. Here is the list of information provided in the assessment results guide:

Section I: Awareness

-A brief Shared Theme Description for each of your top five themes

-Your Personalized Strengths Insights, which describe what makes you stand out from

others with the same theme in their top five

-Questions for you to answer to increase your awareness of your talents

Section II: Application

-10 Ideas for Action for each of your top five themes

-Questions for you to answer to help you apply your talents

Section III: Achievement

-Examples of what each of your top five themes “sounds like” — real quotes from

people who also have the theme in their top five

-Steps for you to take to help you leverage your talents for achievement

After taking the assessment, Strength Finder 2.0 kicked back an email with my top 5 themes which happened to be:

Significance

Futuristic

Command

Woo

Focus

So what do these “themes” mean? You’ll have to buy the book and take the assessment for yourself to find out (which I highly recommend).

2- Rocket Career Online Skill Assessment Test (www.rocketcareer.com)

This one is pretty self explanatory; go to the aforementioned website, fill out an assessment and the website will kick back some of your dominant skills.

3- LinkedIn “Stalking”

It sounds pretty sketchy, but when it comes to figuring out what employers want to see or hear on a resume or in an interview, what better way to find out than to check out their skills on LinkedIn (in my opinion, most useful and groundbreaking inventions of the last decade). Not only can you see what these employers look like, which might come in handy if you are meeting outside of the office, but you can see how they wrote their skills and find a way to write your skills in the same professional style.

Try these three strategies and make a short list of the things you feel the most confident doing. When the day of the interview comes and the person behind the desk in the big leather chair asks you the inevitable question “What skills can you bring to this organization,” you won’t need a few minutes to think about it.

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