Why is it important?
Few people are really excited by naval gazing and even fewer want to talk about their skills and abilities to strangers. However when you have to write an application or attend an interview for that graduate job you've always wanted, it pays to have a good grasp of your achievements and capabilities, what you consider important, and what interests and motivates you. These pages provide access to some tools to help you identify your particular skills, values and interests. Being clear about these also helps you identify the type of work and industry areas you may want to explore.
How do I identify my strengths and capabilities?
In addition to those skills developed in your discipline of study, there are many transferable skills (PDF 183KB) that you will have developed in your academic study, full or part-time work and extra-curricular activities. An effective way of identifying your key capabilities or strengths is to think about your achievements in any of these areas and to work out which of these skills you used to gain those achievements. You may also want use a skills assessment activity (opens in an external page) to help you identify skills you are good at and those you may want to develop. You can email the results to yourself.
If you have been reading job advertisements you will have noted that many employers ask for a common set of skills which are sometimes called employability skills. You can also check your skills against these and prioritise those that you might want to promote to an employer. Make sure you keep a list of your key skills with examples of when and where you have used them in your own professional file or e-portfolio. These will be helpful when putting together your resume.
What is important to me? What do I value?
Values play an important part in many of life’s decisions. They are taken into account when deciding on a course of study or on the kind of work we want to do and where we want to do it. For example wanting to work for a large organisation or for a small organisation may depend on your values. Being employed by an organisation or working freelance may also depend on values. Values are generally consistent over time so that even though our work may change, our essential beliefs about work may not. We may not be able to meet all our values and ideals but it helps to at least know what is important to us so that we can aim for work that meets our values. You may want to identify the key values (opens in an external page) that might impact your decision making. You can email the results to yourself and record in your e-portfolio.
What am I passionate about?
Have you heard some people say that they love what they are doing and are getting paid for it?! It is obvious that those individuals have pursued their interests in the first place. While not everyone may be able to make these claims, you can certainly consider what you really enjoy doing and whether you want to pursue these activities in your career or keep them as interests to provide work-life balance. Consider what activities motivate you? What allows you to forget time because you are so involved in what you are doing? Review the A to Z of passions (opens in an external page) or think of some of your own and email them to yourself to keep them in your professional e-portfolio as a reminder of the interests that are important to you.
Work, study, leisure, connections - what is my ideal balance?
Balancing these areas of life is what most students have to do and is one of the things employers take into consideration when choosing candidates for employment. You can review your work-life balance (opens in an external page) in each of these areas and decide whether or not you want to change the balance in any way. Where are you at currently? What do you want to change? Be kind to yourself but use the handy action reminders to help you redress the balance that is right for you. Email the action reminders to yourself and act on them if you want to make any changes.