You may have heard a lot about the skills needed when job seeking. To be able to sell yourself to an employer, you should be aware of your skills, and be able to articulate and demonstrate them.
But what exactly are skills?
Generally, there are five types of skills:
1) Foundation skills:
These are basic skills that are required by almost every employer. They include literacy (reading, writing, basic maths), communication skills (speaking and listening), problem-solving, critical thinking, decision making, teamwork, responsibility, and time management.
Foundation skills are both marketable and transferrable.
2) Marketable skills
These are all the foundation skills, plus skills that employers will pay you to perform. These may differ depending on the role and the company. For example, some of the skills needed for an administrative position may include database management, accounting, data entry, accurate and fast typing, or calendar management. In an administrative position, you are not likely to have to know about different plant species and care, so that would be a non-marketable skill.
In comparison, if you are working as a plant nursery assistant, knowledge of different plant species and care would be marketable, while calendar management might not be marketable.
3) Transferrable skills
Transferable skills are ones you can transfer from one occupation to another. An example of a transferrable skill could be the ability to use Microsoft Word, which could be used both as a receptionist and a teacher. A non-transferrable skill for these two professions could be creating lesson plans - this may be relevant for a teacher, but not a receptionist.
4) Motivational skills
Motivational skills are those that you enjoy doing. When speaking about their skills, people often say how they perform tasks, but not why. These skills are the why - why you do what you do. What excites you? Maybe you are a people person and enjoy interacting with others, and feel energised by interacting with others. If this is the case, customer service, or developing interpersonal relationships could be some of your motivational skills.
5) Vision-specific skills
These are skills that have been developed through living with a vision condition. These can include skills such as using adaptive technology, reading, and producing braille. Living with a vision condition can also increase problem-solving skills and the ability to be adaptable, due to finding different ways to complete tasks.
Identifying your skills
The five types of skills listed above can be developed in different environments, including employment, work experience, volunteering, education, social clubs, recreation, or at home.
You can develop a skills list by exploring these environments, what you have done, and then connecting them to your skills. You can develop a skills list individually, with another person, or by using the online resources listed below.
Skills Match is a system that takes your previous roles, identifies potential skills, and then suggests roles that may be suitable, based on your skills. Please note, that these are suggestions, and may require additional skills and/or qualifications
Project Aspiro is a comprehensive career planning and employment resource for individuals who are blind or have low vision. The Transition Competencies Checklist is targeted at students, but is a good starting point for people of all ages to identify their skills. Please note: when opening the list, click ‘Cancel’ if asked to enter a username or password.
All About Employment is a series of articles to assist people with various topics about employment.
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For more information, contact Vision Australia employment specialist Belinda Wilson.