Center for Transformative Learning

Office Location:

3rd Floor, Stephenson Hall


859-985-3404 Writing Res.

859-985-3670 Faculty Dev.

859-985-3656 Internships

859-985-3656 Career Dev.

Hours Open:

M-Th:9:00 am–8:00 pm

F:9:00 am–5:00 pm

Hours Closed:

Daily:12:00 pm–1:00 pm

T:4:00 pm–5:00 pm

Th:3:00 pm–5:00 pm

Identify Your Skills

Skills are the foundation of an effective job search. Employers do not just want to know where you have been and what your job titles were; they also want to know what you can do. If you were planning to purchase a product that would cost thousands of dollars annually, you would want to know what it can do. The average person has between 500 and 800 skills! You need to identify the skills that are the most attractive to potential employers. Many people have a hard time identifying their skills. Do not think a skill is something that requires years of education and experience to develop. A skill is anything you can do right now!

Three Types of Skills

There are three types of skills: job related, self-management and transferable skills.

Job Related Skills

Job related skills are important to employers for obvious reasons. They are the specific skills employers look for in a candidate. Job skills do not always come from employment. They may be developed through education, hobbies, community activities and life experiences. Common activities such as shopping, managing finances, balancing a bank account, hosting a party, and teaching a child all contain potential job skills.

Self-Management Skills

Self-management skills are those you use day-to-day to get along with others. They are the skills that make you unique. Sincerity, reliability, tactfulness, patience, flexibility, and tolerance are all examples of self-management skills. Employers look for these skills to determine how a candidate will fit into the organization. These skills are important for people who are seeking their first job or who are returning to employment after an absence.

Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are important for many reasons. Many job seekers are unlikely to find a job identical to their previous employment. People seeking their first job, making a career change, or returning to employment after an absence will likely use transferable skills in their job search.

Skills Identification Methods

There are many methods for identifying skills. Whatever method you use, consider the following:

  • Don't concentrate too much on definitions or the process of how you identify your skills.
  • Don't limit yourself. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. List everything that remotely looks like a skill.
  • You do not have to be an expert to claim a skill. Include skills that you may just be learning.

Method 1

Step 1: Write the title of an employment activity. Focus on those activities that potentially demonstrate skill and experience relative to employment. You may get these titles from skills you may have gained while working for community organizations, volunteer activities, and employment.

Step 2: List the tasks involved in performing this activity. These are the basic functions of the activity.

Step 3: List the skills involved in accomplishing each task. Be sure to include job related, self-management, and transferable skills.

Method 2

Look for skill words that you recognize in books, magazines, publications and on the internet. Skill words can be found in: The Occupational Outlook Handbook (found in the Career Development Office), how-to books, hobby books, technical manuals, newspapers, magazines and classified advertisements.

Method 3

Network with friends, associates and family. Ask them to tell you what skills they know you have.

Self-Management Skills

  • Good attendance
  • Honest
  • Punctual
  • Follow instructions
  • Meets deadlines
  • Relates well with others
  • Hardworking, productive
  • Able to coordinate
  • Friendly
  • Ambitious
  • Good natured
  • Assertive
  • Helpful
  • Capable
  • Tactful
  • Cheerful
  • Imaginative
  • Competent
  • Independent
  • Completes tasks
  • Conscientious
  • Trust-worthy
  • Intelligent
  • Discreet
  • Learns quickly
  • Loyal
  • Efficient
  • Sense of direction
  • Integrity
  • Outgoing Kind
  • Expressive
  • Motivated
  • Flexible
  • Natural
  • Formal
  • Optimistic
  • Sincere
  • Original
  • Problem solver
  • Patient
  • Spontaneous
  • Persistent
  • Steady
  • Humble
  • Cheerful
  • Loves to learn
  • Self-motivated
  • Reliable
  • Tenacious
  • Resourceful
  • Responsible
  • Confident
  • Dependable
  • Modest
  • Enthusiastic
  • Mature
  • Energetic
  • Sense of humor
  • Inventive
  • Mature Sociable

Transferable Skills Checklist

Key Transferable Skills

  • Meeting deadlines
  • Planning
  • Speaking in public
  • Controlling budgets
  • Supervising others
  • Accepting Responsibility
  • Solving Problems
  • Negotiating Written Communication

Other Transferable Skills

  • Using your hands
  • Operate tools and machinery
  • Assemble or make things
  • Drive / Operate vehicles
  • Build and inspect things
  • Repair things
  • Construct or repair buildings

Working with People

  • Administer
  • Pleasant
  • Patient
  • Care for
  • Persuade
  • Confront others Teach
  • Tolerant
  • Counsel People
  • Sensitive Demonstrate
  • Sociable
  • Tough
  • Trust
  • Diplomatic
  • Helping others
  • Tactful
  • Insightful
  • Understanding
  • Negotiate

Using Words, Ideas

  • Articulate
  • Correspond with others
  • Design
  • Inventive
  • Recalls Information
  • Speaks in public
  • Logical
  • Create new ideas
  • Writes clearly
  • Research


  • Arrange special functions
  • Motivate people
  • Competitive
  • Decisive
  • Plan
  • Delegate
  • Facilitate meetings
  • Direct others
  • Self-controlled
  • Communication
  • Gets results
  • Solve Problems
  • Mediate problems take risks

Dealing with Data

  • Analyze data or facts
  • Negotiate
  • Investigate
  • Audit Records
  • Keep financial records
  • Budget
  • Review and record data
  • Count, observe and compile
  • Research
  • Detail-oriented