Job seeking requires planning and an active approach. As many as 80% of jobs are hidden and found by other means than by sending applications to job openings. Networks, direct contacts with employers, media follow-up and headhunting are means to find hidden jobs. Job seeking market develops fast and new services and service providers appear all the time.

We offer our members individual counselling in themes related to job seeking. Read more on our job seeking services.

Recognise your skills to succeed in job seeking

Your expertise consists of many skills and competencies, qualities and personality traits. Also beliefs, values or networks can be part of your skills set.
You can divide your skills and competencies in many ways. In working life, one option is to divide your skills into professional ones, general working life skills and self-management skills. Professional competence consists of your skills and expertise acquired through education and experience.

General working life skills are skills needed in any profession or work. They develop over time but remain fairly similar across positions and industries. Self-management skills are often inherent but you can also learn them.

How to recognise your competence?

You can map out your skills and competencies by yourself or by asking others for help.

Ask yourself

People often like to do things they do well. On the other hand, you also develop in those things you invest your time in.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you enjoy doing, what makes you happy?
  • What inspires you?
  • What do you do just for the joy of doing it?
  • What would do you if there weren’t any restrictions such as money?
  • What do you enjoy doing on your own, and with others?

Ask others

Other people often see our skills clearly and they can also verbalise them. Think about what other people tell you:

•    When and on what you receive positive feedback?
•    When and for what other people ask you for help?

By answering these questions you can better understand your skills and competencies and see how important some, even self-evident, qualities are.

Tell a story

One very good way to verbalise your expertise is to tell a success story. Tell a story to yourself and record it. You often use clear and expressive words when you speak but forget them when you write.

Tell your story to somebody else. Ask him or her to listen to it silently, without comments, and to write down what kind of knowledge, skills and expertise your story conveys. In the end, go through the notes together and, if you so wish, ask your friend to elaborate more on the skills your story included.

Why not invite your friends over and spend an evening with your respective success stories?

Writing clarifies your thinking

List all the skills you discovered yourself and heard from others. This may facilitate thinking and finding a visual way to describe your skills. Would you prefer MindMap, concept map or graph?

Think about ways to further clarify your skills in different situations. What are the specific skills, ways of working, knowledge, capabilities, qualities and approaches that are required for successful human interaction, for example?

What, among these, are those skills and competencies that distinguish you from others? Which skills should you particularly underline in your job application or interview?

Check our instructions for writing a job application and CV, and for creating a LinkedIn profile

Professional skills

Factual knowledge, expertise acquired by experience, related to own profession and work

Professional skills are accumulated by

  • Studies
  • Projects
  • Work experience
  • Positions of trust
  • Other activities

General working life skills

  • Analysis and assessment
  • Managerial skills, leadership
  • Innovativeness
  • Digital skills and social media
  • Language skills and cultural knowledge
  • Self-promoting skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Project management skills
  • Networking skills
  • Interaction and communication skills
  • Cooperation and negotiating skills
  • Data management skills
  • Emotional intelligence

Self-management skills

  • Time management skills
  • Thinking skills
  • Attitude
  • Self-control
  • Ability to change
  • Self-evaluation
  • Learning skills
  • Prioritising skills
  • Target setting
  • Application of knowhow
  • Steering of activities
  • Planning of activities

Source: Outi Hägg, Aalto University