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Figure out your skills

figure out your skills 2

How to figure out your skills to help you identify your career options.

Figuring out all the skills you have can increase your career options. This will also identify any skill or knowledge gaps.

Why you need to figure out your skills

Figuring out the skills you have will help you:

  • decide what sort of job you might like
  • decide what areas you need to focus your study or training on
  • write your CV if you're applying for a job

Figure out your skills in three steps

Brainstorming can help you figure out your skills. Follow these three steps to create a skills list.

1. List all your paid and unpaid jobs

Make a list of the jobs or positions or responsibility you've had and any voluntary work you've done.

I've never had a job. What are my skills?

If you've never had a job, focus on the skills you've gained from your interests or activities.

You can get skills from activities such as:

  • playing sports or belonging to teams
  • helping with hospitality or leadership on your marae
  • taking part in events such as debates or drama productions
  • belonging to organisations such as Scouts, Girl Guides, Air Training Corps or Student Volunteer Army
  • earning awards such as Duke of Edinburgh
  • having a school leadership role or being a student representative.

You can also learn skills from the subjects you study.

If you study maths, for example, you can learn:

  • analytical skills
  • problem-solving skills.

2. List your main tasks or duties for each job

For each job or role, write five or six sentences describing your main tasks, duties or responsibilities.

For subjects you studied at school, think about the assignments and projects you did.

3. List the skills you used or developed for each task or duty

For each task, duty or responsibility, write a sentence describing the skills you used or developed to do them. As you go through your list, ask yourself how advanced you are in that skill.

Get inspiration from job adverts and our job profiles

If you’re having trouble figuring out your skills, you can get ideas by checking job adverts to find out what skills employers say they’re looking for.

You can also find out more about the types of skills needed for jobs by checking our job profiles

Ask yourself:

  • Do I have any of these skills?
  • How can I show that I have this skill?

Updated 24 Aug 2021