Internships and other work experiences
Internships and other work experiences

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Internships and other work experiences

2.1 Developing skills and attributes

You’ve already looked briefly at some of the skills you can gain from almost any form of work experience and there will be many more that are role specific. Are there particular skills you’d like to gain or develop further? Where are your gaps?

Attributes are another valuable aspect of what you can offer to an employer, and these tend to be thought of as personal qualities or characteristics, such as being trustworthy or proactive. Do you need to collect evidence for your attributes? What situations might provide you with that?

Activity 2 will help you to find any skills gaps that you might want to develop.

Activity 2 Personal skills audit

Timing: Allow about 30 minutes for this activity

In the table below, you will find a list of the skills and attributes that many employers look for. If you have a specific role or sector in mind, you may wish to add your own suggestions of skills or attributes to the empty rows in the table, or even base this exercise on a typical job description for that role.

Score your level of expertise against each skill/ability as follows:

0 = no experience yet

1 = basic

2 = competent

3 = proficient

Add at least one example of when you’ve demonstrated that skill. This will make your analysis of a particular skill more concrete and give you evidence that you can use in future job applications.

When you’ve completed the task, ask a colleague, manager, mentor or friend who knows you well, whether they agree with your assessment. Note down their comments in the box beneath the table.

Table 1 Skills and attributes commonly sought by employers

Skill Proficiency Evidence
Communication – verbal
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Communication – written
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Teamwork
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Relationship building
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Negotiation skills
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Decision-making skills
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Problem solving
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Time management
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Organisational skills
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Ability to work under pressure
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Initiative
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Commercial awareness
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Leadership
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Emotional intelligence
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Self-awareness
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Self-confidence
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Self-motivation
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Adaptability
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Discussion

If you group your skills by score, e.g. all those that scored 3, all those that scored 2 etc., you can identify what you see as your strengths and areas for further development. What are your perceived strengths and weaknesses? Is there an obvious gap in your experience or is your next step to grow your overall expertise from basic to competent?

In the final part of the activity, talking to someone who knows you well can help you to understand whether your perceptions of yourself are accurate. They may also have ideas to add. Many people underestimate their own abilities!

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