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Have you conducted a personal skills audit yet?

Black Woman in an office with colleagues

As 2020 draws to a close, it’s time to revisit career goals and the skills necessary to achieve them. Here’s how to perform an audit of your strengths and weakness – and power through...

New year, new goals, new skills. Before we make plans to start 2021 right, now is the perfect time to revaluate the past 12 months and how we’ve grown despite adversity.

Resilience isn’t just about going back to “business as usual” but about striving to be better and keeping ourselves open to new possibilities.

In the future of work, career development is hinged on this same philosophy of continuous upskilling and reskilling. And one way to keep track is through a personal skills audit.

What is a personal skills audit?

A personal skills audit is a method of identifying one’s competencies, evaluating them against industry standards and requirements, and ultimately developing strategies for improvement. In other words, the audit reveals one’s strengths and weaknesses.

It doesn’t just stop at pinpointing any skills gap, either. It entails setting goals – supported by a realistic action plan – to help learners get from point A to point B in their career.

Why is a skills audit crucial?

The Industry 4.0 era has ushered in advanced tools such as artificial intelligence, automation and robotics in the workplace, but it has also created a global upskilling and reskilling emergency across the globe, according to experts from the World Economic Forum.

Over a billion jobs are expected to be transformed by technology, but a significant portion of the global workforce who will likely be displaced as a result of this transition has yet to keep up with the demand for new skills in this emerging economy.

Performing a skills audit now will help those who want to take their career to the next level develop a roadmap for the future.

How to perform a personal skills audit

Start with the end in mind

One way to motivate learners is to see upskilling in the context of their dream job and the skillsets that position requires. Gauging their skills based on where they want to be three, five or seven years down the line makes the otherwise abstract idea of upskilling more concrete. Will that management role you are targeting require an MBA or another specialized track? Will you need to get certified for Lean Six Sigma to handle bigger accounts? Perhaps you need to be Google certified instead?

Reflect on your past performance reviews

These assessments provide insights into your aptitude and behaviour at work and are useful when pinpointing areas for improvement.

Enumerate your skills – measure them against industry standards and trends

A skills audit wouldn’t be all that helpful to one’s career if it doesn’t measure personal skills against industry standards. People define career success differently, but benchmarking allows them to compare their competencies with the standards set by professional organizations and guilds.

You can also start by searching for people on LinkedIn who are on a similar career path as yours, and listing down their top skills and professional associations. Another option is to scan job listings that detail requirements for a position.

Finally, enumerate your own competencies, certifications and affiliations and compare these against what you’ve found online. The results should give you an overview of upskilling trends in your field and help you identify gaps between your skillsets and those of other people in your industry.

What to do after identifying a skills gap

Now that you have a better idea of your competencies (and where you might need more training), it’s time to do the heavy lifting!

  • Test your skills: some firms perform diagnostic tests in as fast as five minutes.
  • Create an upskilling roadmap. List down free and paid courses that suit your needs, then set a goal, timeframe and budget for each course (Example: learn Python basics in six weeks).
  • Be hungry for learning. You can start by enrolling in short programs.
  • Join groups that share your interests in skill-building in a particular field.
  • Put your skills to good use. You can offer to take on small projects for your department or volunteer at organizations that need people for their initiatives.

Upskilling and reskilling won’t just happen overnight. They require investment. But auditing your skillset is the first step to preparing yourself for the demands of the new economy.

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half the sky (HTS) is a career platform for women in Asia. We connect women to career opportunities at companies that care. We also want to equip you with information, tips and strategies to navigate the workplace today and the future.

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