How to List Your Skills, Abilities, and Accomplishments
You have important career assets to offer an employer. From a young age, you’ve learned and done useful and important things. Discover how to identify your skills, abilities, and accomplishments to make your work search tools stronger.
What knowledge do you have?
What you know can fall into 2 categories:
- General knowledge about things like gardening, soccer, or first aid
- Specialized knowledge that you need to work in a particular occupation, such as:
- A doctor’s knowledge of surgical procedures
- A mechanic’s knowledge of car parts
- An artist’s knowledge of the colour wheel
- A farmer’s knowledge of crops and weather patterns
You’ve probably picked up lots of knowledge through experience and through formal education or training. You’ve also picked up a great deal through informal learning activities such as reading, watching shows, and observing others.
But knowledge, on its own, is rarely enough. You need to show employers that you have the skills and abilities to turn that knowledge into action. And your accomplishments will provide evidence of what you can achieve.
What are your skills and abilities?
Your skills and abilities are what you can do. You may know a lot about soccer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can play soccer well. To become a skilled player, you need athletic ability and practice as well as knowledge of the game.
Your abilities are what you can do naturally. For example, you may have a natural ability for working with numbers, people, or machinery.
Skills are learned. For example, you may be skilled at selling things, performing basic math, or rebuilding car motors. You may have been born with mechanical ability, but you still have to learn specific skills to become a competent mechanic. When you’re making career decisions, it’s often useful to group your skills into 2 categories:
- Transferable or core skills
- Work-specific skills
What are your accomplishments?
If your skills and abilities are what you can do, your accomplishments are what you’ve done.
Even if you’re just starting out in the workforce, you have accomplishments to be proud of. Use them to beef up your resumé and cover letter, and show them off in interviews.
Track your career assets as they grow
Once you know what your career assets are, you can use them to help you get your next job. Add them to your master resumé.
As your experience grows, keep adding to your lists. Be proud of what you’ve done!