Career Change Skills

Do A Personal Skills Audit Before You
Change Career

So what career change skills are essential if you are thinking of changing careers?

Well one of the most important is the ability to review your own skills objectively by using some kind of personal skills audit. That’s a great idea. Of course you need to know what abilities and
skills you have before you can work out what other jobs might suit you and certainly before you start applying for any.

Yes, but how do you actually do a personal skills audit? That is the bit that is so often left out.

reflecting on career change skills

So you sit down with a sheet of paper in front of you and start to make a list….

Fifteen minutes later, you have maybe got five skills down and you are already beginning to feel defeated. Is this really all you have to offer? Maybe its time you took the dog for a walk or read the paper or you might just be in time to catch the latest episode of your favourite soap on TV.

Does that sound familiar? If so, read on to find out some great tips to help you really get to grips with producing a list of your key career change skills.

There are three simple approaches to this kind of personal skills audit – Assess, Ask and Observe.


This means taking stock of the activities have been involved in at work (past and present), at home and in your leisure time.

Rather than just trying to list the skills you have developed, start by listing what you actually do in these three areas of your life.

Make it as long and detailed a list as you can. Write down what you do and what you have done. Start with the big tasks – arranging meetings, organising holidays or producing a newsletter for your social club and then go right down to making coffee, collecting your kids from school and talking to your friends about the latest film you have seen.

You will come up with a very long list, I promise you!

Then your task is to assess what skills you had to use in each of these activities. This is a lot easier now you have activities to review. Say you produced a newsletter, at work or for your social club. This probably involves time management, writing and editing, negotiating, meeting deadlines, persuading, attention to detail and much more.

If you do this assessment with all your activities, you will have a very long list of transferable skills.


This is so obvious that it is amazing that people don’t do it.


Just ask other people what they think your skills are!

Start with people at work, including your boss and your colleagues.

Simply say ‘If you had to list my top 5 skills, what would they be?

You will be amazed at the affirmation of your abilities and skills that comes from this simple question.

Do the same thing with friends and family. This might feel safer, so ask this group first, if you prefer. You might like to return the compliment too. Let your friends know hat you really value and appreciate in them.

It is such a shame that we so rarely give each other this kind of positive feedback. While it is really helpful when you are thinking about your career change skills, why not just do it anyway from time to time? You get to feel good about yourself and help make others feel good too!


The third method of assessing your career change skills is to get into the habit of observing yourself as you go about your day to day activities. Again, it is important that you watch yourself at home and at leisure as well as at work.

So when you come out of a meeting, hand in a project report or finish serving a customer, just stop and take note of how you used particular skills to make that happen. You can jot these down right away, or maybe you could get into the habit of spending a few minutes before you go home just making a note of what skills you have put into practice today.

This can be a great way of building up evidence for the skills you have developed which will be useful when you get to the interview stage for your new career.

So there you have it. Three ways to get you past the skills block that so many career changers struggle with. Once you have tried these three approaches, you will feel a lot more confident about the wide range of career change skills that you have to offer future employers.

About the author

Amy Thomas

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