Identification of competences

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:

  • What you are capable of.
  • How you do that.
  • Where you can use it.
  • What you want to do.           

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. 

Types of competences

Academic competences

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.

Field 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.  

Method competences

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

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). 

Get an idea of your competences

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. 

Exercises in identifying your competences

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

  1. Deselect those competences you don't want to use in your work life. 
  2. Prioritise your competences: Choose your 3-5 strongest professional competences and your 3 strongest personal ones. 
  3. Prioritise the competences based on which you would rather used in a job: Choose 3-5 professional competences and 3 personal ones.  

3. Targeting: Where and how can you use your competences?

  1. Imagine a hypothetical work situation where you can put your competences in action. 
  2. Present your situation and competences to a friend as if he/ she was your employer. 
  3. Optionally, you can find an older job advert from the archive on Jobindex and see which competences, the company has asked for earlier plus if they fit for your profile. Think about your specific experience from internships or student jobs and your knowledge from your education.