I can’t do that job, can I? Time to locate your skills!

So you found a job advertised and it looks great, but then you looked at the job description and convinced yourself you would never be shortlisted because you don’t have the skills.

STOP, BREATHE and start again.

Every job has  a list of requirements, some will be technical or knowledge based but many jobs require transferable skills that you can acquire anywhere.
The trick is to remember examples of times when you have used those skills or attributes.

First make a list of all the skills / abilities / knowledge required – get your highlighter pen out on the job description or advertadverthighlight

Then start a skills audit: You can use our simple skills audit here to get started.

  •  Start with your CV and  go through each part of your life from education to your spare time and think about if you could say you have used that skill.


  •  Go through your list of skills and try to think of examples of times when you have used them.

TOP TIP: Get a friend or family member who knows you well to help you.  Get them to ask

  • What was your role?
  • What did you do on a daily basis? What did that involve?
  • Who did you do that with?
  • How did you do that exactly – what steps did you take?
  • Was is easy or hard?
  • How did you overcome that?  How did you change that?
  • What happened as a result?

Your next step…

Here I created a spreadsheet using the skills from our employability page  ( It also gives you some ideas how you can get these skills!)   You can add or remove items from the list as appropriate.

You can see I’m using the CAR  (CONTEXT ACTION RESULT) model here to help describe the experience. It helps to make sure you give the recruiter all the information they need to assess  your competence.

I started jotting down odd words and ideas, then made sentences which are nearly ready for use.

I started with initiative as I remembered this example, I then realised I could use the same example for negotiation.  The same went for teamwork and problem solving.

You will start to build up a bank of examples and realise that with some subtle rewording the same basic example can show different or multiple skills. This gives you the flexibility to use examples to their best effect in your CV or application.

Try to find as many examples of all permutations of a skill as you can (e.g. written and verbal communication and giving presentations and writing reports)

You can then pick and choose which you will select for any occasion and weed out weaker examples as desired.

skills auditfilled in pic

Just add a row whenever you think of something new! I’m sure your examples will be far better than mine 🙂

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