Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CAREER DEVELOPMENT / DEC. 08, 2014
version 3, draft 3

How to Recognize your Defining Skills

When employers want to hire someone, they usually seek for key defining skills. They look for someone who’s a natural at what they do. This is the boundary that separates outstanding job seekers from those merely looking for a job to earn a living. So when we talk of defining skills, we’re referring to those things you’re really good at. Problem is, the majority are not quite sure of the skills that really define their career. And I think this problem stems from...

The Education System

Most education systems in the world today are efficient. They have a broad range of subjects particularly in the primary and secondary curriculum. Moreover, students generally possess great cognitive ability when it comes to having a wide scope of knowledge and passing exams. However...

Efficiency doesn’t necessarily mean Effectiveness

After high school, students usually choose degree courses based on the grades that they’ve achieved. You’ll rarely find students being assessed beyond grades. It’s no wonder graduates possess impressive degrees and yet, the job market cannot absorb them because...

Their Career Decisions are usually Coerced by Stiff Competition

So instead of graduates coming out of university with wholesome defining skills, they end up with lots of jargon because they were compelled and misled by the lure of unnecessary competition. They are used to being competitive in the aspect of passing exams. But when they are presented with a real life scenario, they can’t think for themselves because...

They’re poor innovators and independent thinkers

Exams are essentially about STRAIGHT questions with designated answers. You are basically given instructions on how to tackle a question. You’re aware of the answer because you’ve read it. And if you’ve not read, then you fail:

  • In the real world however, there are no straight questions. Only complex problems, challenges and obstacles that are intertwined with each other. 
  • Moreover, there is no ’correct’ answer because there are numerous unconventional means to tackling real life problems. 
  • So in essence, graduates are good at tackling problems using the well-known conventional means. 
  • But when it comes to thinking outside the box, it then becomes a challenge because they rarely add some uniqueness to it.
  • Consequently, they become accredited professionals that don’t know what defining skills they have. 

This presents a serious challenge...

How then does one recognize their defining skills? Here a few possible ways…

#1 Narrow down to skills that are in tune with your unique personality

This should be a simple task because we know ourselves all too well. We know the preferences we go for based on the urge of our unique personalities. From our favourite movies to our daily choice of apparel. This is no different from recognizing your defining skills. Your personality is at its very best when you put particular skills in action. What skills are these? You’ll need to find them out. But you can’t recognize them effectively unless you...

#2 Think beyond the familiar formalities of Academic papers

Unfortunately, many people consider certain skills to be irrelevant because they’re not examined or accredited by institutions. We are used to being tested for certain skills and being presented with papers on the same. We make the mistake of limiting our capabilities according to the academic papers we have. However, we’ve got to remember that the very best innovators in this world did things beyond the scope of their academic papers. In any case, if every problem in this world required the service of a ’qualified’ professional, then things would be chaotic because of limited man power. All in all, if you’re capable of solving a problem without papers, then that’s all the approval you need to recognize a defining skill.

#3 Consider skills that maximize your potential through innovative progress

We all know of normal skills that we have. And when we use them, it just feels normal. On the flip side however, we know of skills that we really enjoy using. And that’s because we put our hearts and minds to it. We don’t force ourselves to use those skills. Instead, it just flows naturally and we can’t resist the urge to use them. These are the skills that maximize on our potential and in effect, we extend our efforts towards being innovative. Ultimately, when we use these skills, we feel like we are making real progress in our career endeavours.

By now, some of you might be regretting the skills you may have neglected or brushed off in your career journey. However, it’s never too late as long as you focus on the present moment. As Dr. Steve Maraboli once put it, "You wouldn’t be here today if yesterday was your defining moment. Live this day and move towards your dreams."

Image Credit: piensaprofuturo

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