How do you discover your skills and abilities?
When I lost my job in 2013, I was clueless. I didn’t know where to go or what to do. I started by updating my résumé with my latest skills and abilities. It’s what most people do. It was a start. Over the next six months, I discovered what was missing.
How to discover your Skills and Abilities
Discovering your skills and abilities is a process of refinement.
- Start by listing what you know
- Refine the list by talking with friends and family
- Determine what’s valuable (and what’s not!)
Start with What you Know
In 2013, working for a startup, I had lots of hats. I could easily describe myself as ‘Jack of all Trades, Master of None.’ Unfortunately, that description doesn’t do a good job of helping me (or potential employers) from determining what my skills and abilities were. Instead, I broke my responsibilities and experience down to three different marketable skills:
- Managing a Customer Service/Technical Support call center
- Managing in-house IT infrastructure
- Software development project management using offshore development teams
Refine the Process
Through networking, I met many people who were willing to talk with me. Each meeting helped me refine my thinking and my job search. Not everyone could help me for each responsibility. However, as I met different people, different things became clear.
Determine what’s valuable
During the next six months, while meeting with people, I was able to find which skills were valuable and what was not. I also discovered a few that I didn’t know I had!
During those discussions, I discovered the following:
- While my experience managing the call center was useful, I couldn’t leverage that experience to get a job.Most call centers have more than 5 employees. The only job I qualified for was to work at a call center.
- Most businesses need IT technicians who have experience with more than 25 users. The best job option was an entry-level technician.
- Off-shore project management and knowledge of software development was a highly valued skill.
- I enjoyed talking with people!
- I had a strong business background that was useful to many companies.
Just because I’m now working full-time at a great company serving others and using my skills and abilities to help others doesn’t mean I’m done! I still repeat this process on an ongoing basis.
For some recommended resources to help you discover your skills and abilities, I’d recommend checking out my Resources page