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Give your skills a health check

When you write your CV, it can sometimes be difficult to populate that down-near-the-bottom section marked ‘skills’: surely that’s all been covered by the detailed description of your work history that came before it?

Well, yes and no. What many people don’t realise is the sheer number of skills they have that aren’t directly related to their previous jobs, but can still be desirable for a potential employer. Say you worked in a clothes store as a kid: sure, you can fold a mean t-shirt, but did you reliably handle cash? Did you hone your communication skills speaking to customers? Were you trusted to lock up and open the store, and did you ever top the sales charts?

All these things employers want to know. But never underestimate what you’re learning from your hobbies and interests. Are you the quizmaster in charge of your pub’s weekly quiz? Then you’ve got experience working to deadlines, a keen memory and you’re not afraid to stand up in front of people and present — plus you know the winner of the 1974 FA Cup final (Liverpool). Do you compete in a weekly swimming club? Then you’re dedicated, punctual and you can hold your breath for a very long time! The latter isn’t a vital component of most jobs, it’s important to truly assess your skills and strengths. It could well lead to a new job role where you get to use those new-found powers.

Try these skill health tools to help you think about what type of career might suit you best:

Fancy boosting your skills? The Skills Toolkit website has free, high quality digital and numeracy courses from a range of providers such as Google Digital Garage, Open University and the Lloyds Bank Academy website.

LinkedIn and Microsoft are offering free online learning for a range of jobs in demand – including programmers, IT support, design and customer representatives. For more details visit the LinkedIn website.

The Google Digital Garage website has lots of courses to help you develop your career skills, including CV writing, project management and wellbeing.

The Open University website offer free training tools designed to help people find a job, advance their career or grow their business.

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