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What are my skills?

what are my skillsWhat skills do you put on your CV if you’ve never had a job before? How do you work out what skills you can offer when you’ve never worked? Read on to find out.

How do I work out my skills and strengths?

Perhaps you’ve never worked in your life but it’s unlikely you’ve spent the last 16 years living in a cupboard. You’ve probably gained loads of skills through your daily life that you’re not even aware of.
Take a look at the list of skills below and the sort of places you could have gained them.
Once you’ve completed this, take a look at your skills and bear them in mind when looking for a job.


  • Reading. Do you enjoy reading? Or do you only read because you have to? It’s worth thinking about this before you choose a job.
  • Writing. Most jobs involve a bit of writing. If you are good at spelling and grammar and enjoy writing, think of some good things you have written: perhaps it was a written assignment or you keep a blog.
  • Science. If you enjoy science, you may be able to find a job working in this area, working for a pharmaceutical firm for example.
  • Maths. Maths skills are used in most jobs whether you’re completing your timesheet or working in an accounts department.
  • Communication. Being able to speak to people around you is often an overlooked skill. It’s important because it means you can get your point across quickly, and you’re not afraid to ask for help when needed.
  • Listening. When starting out in a new job, you will need to listen to a lot of new instructions. Listening is also useful when getting to know new work colleagues.
  • IT/computer literacy. Being able to use software like Microsoft Word and Excel will be useful for an office job. If you’re good on computers, let your employers know!

thinking skillsThinking skills

  • Learning. Are you a quick learner? Are you open-minded about new things? If so, this is a very employable skill.
  • Reasoning. Have you ever persuaded a friend to do something? If so, you have used reasoning skills. This is where you present an option to someone and explain why it’s a good idea. Examples could be debating, chat room discussions and writing essays.
  • Thinking creatively. Is your school work imaginative and do you “think outside the box”? If so, you’re a creative thinker.
  • Decision-making. If you’re a good decision-maker you consider all the options and make a decision based on the implications of each one. Have you had to make a tough decision? Perhaps about what to do after school?
  • Problem-solving. Rather than giving up, problem-solvers find solutions by asking people and having the courage to try out new things.

Personal qualities

  • Responsible. If you have ever been asked to look after something or someone, then you have shown you are responsible.
  • Confident. It doesn’t matter if you are not confident all the time. But if you have been confident enough to perform or give a presentation to a group of people, then you’ve shown valuable self-confidence.
  • Sociable. Do you make new friends easily? Are you good with people? If you have good social skills, you may like to work in a customer services role.
  • Honest/trustworthy. This is like being responsible. If you’re going to be in charge of money in your job, your employer wants to know they can trust you.
  • Adaptable and flexible. How did you cope when something changed in your life? Did you cope well? If so, then you are adaptable.
  • Team-spirited. Most of us have had to work with other people, perhaps on a school or college project, in a sport or in something like a play or show. Did you get on well with people? If so, think about why and what you brought to the group.
  • Punctual and efficient. If you turn up for lessons on time and get a job done well, then this applies to you.
  • Self-motivated. Can you do plan your week and get homework done in time for a deadline? If so, this shows you are self-motivated.
  • Well-groomed. This is how you look. If you’re working with the public or in an office, employers will want someone who dresses smartly.
  • Can-do attitude. How do you react when someone gives you extra work? Do you moan or just get on with it? Someone with a can-do attitude rises to a challenge.
  • Caring. Perhaps you’re a volunteer, you help your elderly neighbour with their shopping or you are generally thoughtful. If so, you have strong caring skills.

Specialist skills

  • Industry-specific knowledge. You may know a lot about a specific area because it’s your hobby. Whether it’s motor-racing, media or marbles, use your strengths and find a job that’s related.
  • Technical skills. Can you work a forklift truck, take a toaster apart or put together a wardrobe? What technical things have you done at school or at home which you enjoyed?

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