Articulating Your Best Skills

No matter where you are in your career journey, articulating your best skills is an invaluable strength. Being able to communicate your top attributes and abilities can help drive your professional interests, as well as win the confidence of employers, colleagues, and investors alike.

To help you articulate your skills, complete the activity below by following along with Francis—a YALI Professional who is beginning her career in social work. Francis recently graduated and is currently working for an agricultural nonprofit. However, she is looking to change to a more fitting position in her field of interest. She loves babysitting children, and she helps organize a local women’s club in her hometown.

As you are completing the activity, remember to be honest about your abilities in order to accurately determine your top skills and interests. And don’t forget to practice delivering your responses to an audience afterwards.

Let’s begin!

Identify Your Skills & Interests

In order to understand your best skills, describe your functions, attributes, strengths, and emotional appeal using Francis’s work as an example.

Thinking about these skills and interests you’ve broadly defined above, take the next step by articulating which are your best skills through a personal statement. Answer the questions below, using Francis’ personal statement as a guide for developing your own. As you work, keep in mind two things:

  • Remember that while Francis has a job, she is looking for work related to her degree in social work.
  • Notice how Francis highlights and shapes skills as they relate to the job she wants, rather than the job she has. For example, she speaks to her business and organizational skills working for an agricultural nonprofit, rather than talking about industry-specific duties, like planting seeds and fertilizing fields. In addition, she mentions her volunteer work interacting with women and children because it is highly relevant to social work.

Start with an objective statement that describes your goal.

Hi, I’m Francis, and I want to be a social worker because I love helping women and children.

Go through your chart above, and circle top skills, interests, achievements, and abilities you wish to emphasize.

  • Strong leader
  • Won award for most enthusiastic employee.
  • Organized
  • Listen and lead women’s empowerment discussions.
  • Provide recommendations for young students in the community.
  • Kind and dependable

End on a positive note.

As I continue to gain experience in this field, I hope to help as many people as possible to improve my community and country as a whole.

Now put it all together, and don’t forget relevant examples when possible!

Hi, I’m Francis, and I want to be a social worker because I love helping women and children. I am a strong leader in my current position at a local nonprofit where I interact with customers, follow detailed schedules, and handle complex budgets. I recently won an award for most enthusiastic employee after reorganizing our welcome area to better greet customers. While maintaining a full time job, I prioritize the women’s club I started to assist females facing educational and professional barriers. I mentor young girls, and I discuss solutions for common challenges. As an employee and as a person, I am a strong, dependable leader. As I continue to gain experience in this field, I hope to help as many people as possible to improve my community and country as a whole.

Francis’ Skills & Interests Your Skills & Interests
Functions. What are your current responsibilities? What skills do you currently have or are you currently working on? If you’re a student or just beginning your career journey, you should mention relevant experience, such as volunteering or active participation in clubs and/or networks. Skills from current job:
– Follow harvesting schedule
– Handle financials at market
– Interpersonal skills with customers
– Execute marketing for events


Interests related to volunteer & extracurricular experience:
– Educates local women and girls on their rights
– Punctual when babysitting
Skills from current job:




Interests related to volunteer & extracurricular experience:



Attributes. What traits describe your personality? What traits describe your professional work? How do you interact with coworkers and/or mentors? Personal Attributes:
– Friendly
– Dynamic
– Comforting


Professional Attributes:
– Punctual
– Respectful
– Responsible


How I interact with coworkers and professional acquaintances:
– Strong listener
– Great team player
Personal Attributes:




Professional Attributes:




How I interact with coworkers and professional acquaintances:



Strengths. What are you best at in your current position and what are your biggest accomplishments? What are your strengths at home? Think about what your friends and family frequently ask of you. How do you generally help people? Top Accomplishments:
– Won award for most enthusiastic employee.
– Received ecological responsibility certification.


Strengths at home:
– Organized
– Strong leader


How do I help people?:
– Listen and lead women’s empowerment discussions.
– Provide recommendations for young students in the community.
Top Accomplishments:




Strengths at home:




How do I help people?:



Emotional Appeal. Think about how you make people feel. How do your coworkers benefit from working with you? What words would others use to describe you? Consider asking your boss or a teacher if you need a little extra help. How do you make others feel?:
– Calm, enthused, comfortable


What words do others use to describe me?:
– Kind, dependable, creative thinker
How do you make others feel?:




What words do others use to describe me?:



 

What’s Next?

Great work! Now, have you ever heard the expression “practice makes perfect”? When it comes to articulating your skills, practicing is the best way to leverage your abilities to a future employer, business associate, and/or interviewer. Find a friend and practice explaining your skills and interests to them, then listen to how they articulate their own skills. Offering constructive criticism can benefit you both!

Find the printable version here [PDF 731 kB].

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