What are skills?

Skills are things you learn, that help you do other things. 

You might pick them up through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

If you’re able to recognise and talk about your skills, you’ll find it easier to work out what you want to do. 

And when you’re applying for jobs, they’ll be the things that convince employers that you’re the right person for the job. 

Identifying your skills

You already have lots of skills – and they don’t just come from jobs.

Skills can be developed at school, college or university. You can build them through extra-curricular activities, like clubs or teams you’re part of. 

Work experience, volunteering and internships can also help you develop them. And at home, your parents or friends can teach you them too. 

Need some examples? Well, if you’ve had a job where you had to work to strict deadlines, you’ll probably have good time management skills.

If you’ve been in a debating club, you’ll have developed your communication and persuasion skills. If you play football, you’ll have teamwork and leadership skills. 

Look back over your work, studies or leisure activities and think about the tasks you completed in each. This helps you identify the skills you’ve learned.

Transferable skills

Once you’ve identified what you can do, think about your transferable skills. 

These are skills which work in every type of job – and that’s why they’re so important. 

And they go beyond the ability to use a specific piece of equipment, or do one specific thing. 

Need a couple of examples? Here are five of the most in-demand transferrable skills.

  1. Initiative

You take responsibility for your own work and don’t wait to be told what to do. You look for ways to improve things, wherever you work. 

2. Planning

You’re good at deciding which tasks are a priority. Your plans make sure work gets done, and you’re good at avoiding distractions.

3. Teamwork

You’re great at co-operating with others. You understand how you can contribute to your team, and support other people. 

4. Communication

You explain your ideas and opinions clearly. You’re good at listening, presenting or being able to persuade others.

5. Problem-solving

You can assess a situation and understand what’s causing issues, then develop a solution. 

Your future skills plan

If you’re looking to develop your skills within your workplace: 

  • Offer to take on a new task to develop your skillset 
  • Ask to work on projects with other teams
  • Shadow someone to learn more about how they do their job
  • Sign up for training or workshops to strengthen your skills

If you’re trying to pick up skills for a job you want:

  • Try work experience or volunteering in a relevant role
  • Investigate extra-curricular activities, like evening classes or joining a club 

Remember, there are loads of ways to work to develop your skills. 

We can support you to develop new skills, or build on your old ones. 

Ready to go?

Work out what your skills are, and where they can take you.