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Recognise your skills and abilities

Recognise your skills and abilities

One of the most important things you can do before looking for work or an alternative career is to consider what skills and abilities you already have. These are your most valuable assets and are very important.

Three kinds of skills you need in the world of work are:

  • technical;
  • transferable; and
  • personal.

Technical skills are the specialised skills and knowledge required to perform specific duties, sometimes referred to as ‘work skills’. For example:

  • Driving a forklift
  • Information technology
  • Bookkeeping/MYOB
  • Machine operating
  • Mechanic 
  • Nursing
  • Accounting 

Each one of these skills is made up of specific skills a person must be able to do in order to complete technical tasks.

Transferable skills are the skills required to perform a variety of tasks. They are your greatest asset as they can be ‘transferred’ from one area of work to another.

  • Customer service
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork 
  • Planning/organisational
  • Time management
  • Reasoning and creativity 
  • Driving
  • Staff management
  • Leadership 

These skills can be useful when you are trying to make a career change.

Personal skills are the individual attributes you have such as personality and work habits. These often describe what you are like and how you would naturally go about doing things.

  • Working under pressure
  • Trustworthy
  • Self-motivated 
  • Honest and reliable
  • Fast learner
  • Professional 


  • Has initiative
  • Planning/organisational
  • Loyal 


Personal skills will often be related to how you fit into ‘the team’ or the ‘culture of the workplace’.

Too often, we only think about our technical skills as they are easiest to identify. These are important; but employers want a person who can approach the task and interact with others too. If you have a clear understanding of your skills, it helps you to become more confident with employers.

It also helps you to consider other patterns and forms of employment and should enable you to explore realistic work options.

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