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The better you can describe your workplace skills and accomplishments, the stronger the impression you’ll make on potential employers.
Knowing how to identify and market your core skills will help you impress potential employers and improve your chances of landing the job you want.
Use this form to write down as many of your own core skills as you can. List any skill that you are able to perform as well as most people. You don’t have to be an expert at something to add it to the list.
Your skills are the things you've learned to do well arising from talent, training, or practice. They are an important part of who you are. According to the experts, the average person has up to 700 skills ready to be used at any time!
What are you good at? See how many skills and talents you have by rating these activities. Then discover the careers that best suit what you can do.
Learn how the 9 types of abilities are defined, where they come from, and how you can use them to spot occupations that might be a good fit for you.
Choose experiences where you did something and were proud of the result. It doesn't matter what anyone else thought about the experience or even if anyone else knew about it. The important thing is that you did it and it made you feel proud.
Your accomplishments are what you achieve when you use your skills. Employers will be even more impressed by your skills if you describe the positive results you have achieved.
What have you done that makes you proud? This exercise will help you identify your own accomplishments.
A master resumé is a document that gathers all your skills, accomplishments, experience and training in one place making your future work search activities faster and easier.
Build your master resumé with this online template that guides you through everything you need to capture your work history.
Woman doing woodworking while looking at a tablet in her workshop.
For Work

Identify Your Work-Specific Skills

Employers need people with 2 kinds of skills: core skills and work-specific technical skills.


Core skills are the basic skills you need to succeed in the workplace. They are also known as transferable or soft skills. Learn how to identify your core skills and market them to an employer.

Work-specific skills are technical skills you need to do a specific job. For example:

  • Using a specific software program
  • Driving a forklift
  • Operating a cash register
  • Arranging flowers

How do you learn work-specific skills?

You will usually learn work-specific skills through some form of training—in the classroom or on the job—and through observation and practice.

The certificates, diplomas, and trade tickets you receive for various kinds of education and training certify that you have a certain level of skill. Employers often ask for these paper credentials as proof of specialized competence.

Krista had always wanted to do work involving computers, but many of the computer service technician positions she saw advertised required formal training and certification that she didn’t have.
She researched the occupation and held information interviews with 2 people in the industry. Through her research, Krista discovered many related occupations to investigate further. She found that most colleges offered certification programs but decided to choose the one that also offered work experience. She thought that would be a good way to put her training to work right away while she was learning her work-specific skills.


When can you claim a skill?

Skill levels are a matter of degree. You do not have to be an expert at something before you can call it a skill, ability, or accomplishment. How good you need to be at a skill will depend on the situation in which you want to use it.

For example, Jeremy has developed some bookkeeping skills by keeping track of the family budget. He carefully gathers receipts and groups them by category: groceries, rent, and so on. He uses a computer program to track income and expenses.

Jeremy has no formal training in bookkeeping. But he has developed the skills and organizational system he needs to keep track of the books as part of his role in a home-based business. He could identify that he has basic bookkeeping skills on his resumé. Still, he would need to develop a greater degree of skill to do the bookkeeping for an organization with more complicated finances.

Work-specific skills can be unique to a particular job, company, or industry. You’ll need to update them as your work changes, and as new procedures, technologies, or processes are introduced.

What skills do you have?

It’s a good idea to take stock of your technical skills. Think about the work you have done before, whether paid or unpaid, and the tasks involved in that work. In the exercise below, record these tasks and the skills you used to complete each task.

For each skill, ask yourself the questions journalists ask when investigating a story: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Use the answers to these questions to describe each of your skills as accurately as possible.

If you’re not sure which skills to list, here are some places to look for ideas:

  • Descriptions of any jobs or volunteer positions you have had in the past
  • The Skills & Abilities section in an occupational profile
  • Job postings—search for the kinds of work you have done and see what skills employers list in their job ads:

Examples of tasks and work-specific skills

Here are some examples of tasks and the work-specific skills they involve.

Task: Repairing auto bodies

Work-specific skill(s) involved:

  • Use frame machines to straighten bent frames
  • Remove badly damaged sections of vehicles
  • Weld torn metal
  • Work out minor damage in panels, fenders, and trim

Task: Yard maintenance

Work-specific skill(s) involved:

  • Use a lawn mower
  • Use a weed whacker
  • Identify and dig weeds
  • Water and fertilize plants
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