Identify your skills

Knowing your skills will allow you to clearly describe what you can offer a potential employer.

Types of skills

There are two types of skills: specialised and transferable.

Specialised skills

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

Examples

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

Transferable skills

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

Examples

  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Well-developed organisational ability
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Sales and customer service
  • Leadership and group facilitation skills
  • Numeracy and computer literacy

Think about examples of your skills

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

Job ads and descriptions often specify:

  • required knowledge (what you know)
  • personal qualities and/or attributes (what type of person you are).

Skills and personal qualities 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)

More information is available on the Careers NZ website, Skills employers are looking for.

Skills assessment

Try one of these tools:

  • Skills card sort
    This card sort exercise can help you identify your skills. To book a skills card sort, contact CDES.
  • Online skills assessment tools
    • Advice, tools and career information at Careers New Zealand.
    • Online skills exercise hosted by Saint Anselm College.
    • Personality and job skills at Career Key.

Adding your skills to your CV

For help with presenting your skills on your CV, visit CVs, cover letters and applications.