Identify your skills

Types of skills

There are two types of skills: specialised skills and transferable skills.

Specialised skills

Specialised skills are specific skills that you have developed due to studying particular subjects or working in particular areas


  • HTML programming
  • Identifying plant pathogens
  • Technical editorial skills
  • Financial reporting skills
  • Financial modelling

Transferable skills

Transferable skills are the skills you have developed throughout your life from the wide range of experiences you have been involved in — study, work, extra-curricular activities, life experience, and travel. They can easily be transferred from one situation or type of work to another.


  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Well-developed organisational ability
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Outstanding sales and customer service
  • Sound leadership and group facilitation skills
  • Very good numeracy and computer literacy

Think about examples of these skills

When you tell employers about your skills, back them up with real-life examples of how you developed them. You can list these in your CV and discuss them in an interview.

Job advertisements and job descriptions will also often specify the required knowledge (what you know) and the personal qualities and/or attributes (what type of person you are).

Skills and personal qualities that employers want

In a survey conducted by Graduate Careers Australia in 2010, employers identified the top 10 skills they wanted in employees:

  • Interpersonal and communication skills (written and oral)
  • Drive and commitment/industry knowledge
  • Critical reasoning and analytical skills/technical skills
  • Calibre of academic results
  • Cultural alignment/values fit
  • Work experience
  • Teamwork skills
  • Emotional intelligence (including self-awareness, confidence, motivation)
  • Leadership skill
  • Activities (including intra and extracurricular)

Tips from employers

Watch this video with tips from employers:

How to get noticed at a Careers Expo  

Skills assessment

To help you think about your skills, you may find it helpful to attend one of our Careers workshops.

You can also talk to a Career Development Consultant about your skills.

Or try the tools listed below:

Memory Net activity - what are your skills?

We often overlook or don't recognise what we've achieved or what skills we've gained through employment, education, volunteer work, leisure, travel, etc. A very useful exercise is to spend some time thinking about your past and identifying what you've accomplished, things you've done well and especially things that you've enjoyed.

Memory Net Exercise (25 KB PDF)

Skills Card Sort

Another way of identifying skills is through a skills card sort exercise with a Career Development Consultant. Contact Career Development and Employment Services to book a time to do the exercise. Allow around 45 minutes.

Online skills assessment tools

Expressing your skills in CV and job applications

Help with communicating your skills in your CV is available in CVs, cover letters and application forms.