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Succeed in the workplace
Succeed in the workplace

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3 What abilities have these roles required of me?

Illustration of a squirrel reading a map.
Figure 3 Abilities

Hopefully, the last activity showed you that most roles you play involve doing different things. Even in a particular job, there are often different roles within it. For instance, a healthcare worker might be both a chiropodist and a manager, or a production worker will also be a problem solver when the work does not go smoothly.

In Activity 1 you identified some of the skills you have gained from performing different roles. When you use these skills, you are demonstrating your ability to do something. At a personal level, people might refer to you as being able to resolve production problems or as an able map reader, which then suggests that you have that ability. Generally, the more you use an ability, the stronger it becomes. It is important when managing your career to know what ‘abilities’ you have and how well they suit the kind of work you want to do.

The next activity will help you to become more aware of the abilities you’ve developed through the roles you have already identified.

Activity 2 My abilities

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

First look at the table below. It lists things you might have done in the roles you play and expresses them as ‘abilities’. For instance, you might have had to ‘organise’ team meetings or to ‘campaign’ to raise money for a charity. Read each item on the list and decide if it sounds like you. For the ones that sound most like you, write them down in your notebook and make a note of the role each is associated with. You can also complete this in your Resource pack [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Table 2 My abilities

(Adapted from Career planning and job-seeking workbook, The Open University,2014.)


Look back over this list of abilities. Notice how useful they are in helping you to be precise about what you can do. This helps you to present yourself positively when talking to people who might be helpful to you in developing your career. You will learn more about this in Week 5.

This activity has given you an overview of the kinds of ability you have. Now you need to say something about the activities that helped you to develop them. The next step is to identify the abilities which are most true of you, and link them to activities that enabled you to develop them. You will do this in the next section.