It is the minority of university graduates who knows specifically what they are capable of and what they want at the graduation point. A way to get a better idea of it is to identify your competences. Specifically you can discover:
This way you can organize and form an idea of your competences and use them in your CV and application, in connection to job interviews, or in presentations of yourself at company visits.
Academic competences are competences, qualities, qualifications, specialist areas, etc. that you have enhanced through your education and/ or via relevant work experience. To put it bluntly you can distinguish between field competences and method competences.
Competences linking to a specific field or industry like "Chemist analyst who can work with validation and implementation of analyses methods in GC, GC/MS, etc. in using GLP for computer systems". In other words competences linking to a specific field.
Competences with a more general character and that can be used in several types of task solving, like analysis, data processing, quality control, project management, risk assessment, etc. Especially this type of competences can be worth schematising and emphasising, since these are often rather useful when you are searching for a job outside your field.
Personal competences are defined by your fundamental human qualities, opinions, self-knowledge and experience. They influence how you solve tasks and cooperate with others. You might be analytical, organised, social, detail-oriented, coordinating, work independently, etc. These are all examples of clichés and empty words. It is therefore beneficial to put these competences into context with how you solve tasks. For instance you can have a fellow student or previous colleague to evaluate your personal competences or do a DiSC test for free online (for instance at JobIndex).
There are several ways to identify your competences, for instance by using JobIndex Archive and LinkedIn.
Jobindex has an archive function if you click on ”More search options" and then "Posting date", where you can search for older adverts. You can search on titles, companies, etc. This way you can have a look at what competences the companies previously have been looking for.
On LinkedIn you can search on other profiles within the same field as you and have a look at their personal descriptions, their previous work and tasks, etc.
There are countless of exercises for identifying your competences. This one works with identification, prioritising and targeting.
1. Identification: Be aware of your competences
Pair up with a friend who knows you well. Have him/ her ask you about your strengths - both personal and professional including how you solve your tasks. Write them down in bullets or full-text.
2. Prioritising: Strengthen you competences
3. Targeting: Where and how can you use your competences?