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Your skills

Show off your skills to employers

When applying for any opportunity, such as placements, jobs or further study, it's important to understand and explain the skills you have and how you can contribute.

Identifying your skills can be a straightforward process. This guide will help you assess what skills and supporting evidence you have and what skills you might be missing or need to improve.

Identifying your skills

A good way to identify your skills is to use our Skills Audit (PDF). It has a list of the top ten skills valued by recruiters and encourages you to rate yourself against these, and provide evidence for your how you have demonstrated these in your studies, work experience or extracurricular activities. It gives you a handy reference to see examples of your skills in action, as well as giving you the space to think about any skills you might need to develop.

It's useful to keep an ongoing record of your skills and evidence. This makes it easy to make changes, update records and select evidence to suit specific applications.

Matching your skills to job roles

Employers look for different skills. Many roles require specific qualifications, experience and knowledge. Find out more by taking a look at our career guides.

If you're applying for a specific role, put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter. Analyse the objectives, roles and tasks and identify the criteria for a successful candidate. List all the skills, qualifications and experience required and compare it with your current portfolio of skills.

You'll also need to demonstrate that you have transferable skills and general competencies (which are the abilities to do certain things). TargetJobs has advice to help you understand the different skills and competencies graduate employers expect and tips on how to develop them and show your abilities.

How do your skills and interests align?

Identifying your skills is an important step in the career planning process, however, career choice is not just dependent on your skillset. To discover careers that you will find both enjoyable and fulfilling you can use the Career Interests Inventory to identify how your skills align with your interests.

Register online with your University of Portsmouth email address to access Team Focus and scroll down to the Career Interests Inventory. After you have completed the inventory a report of your results will be emailed to you. Make a note of the career themes identified and start to explore how these link to job profiles.

How do your skills and values align?

Just as identifying your skills is an important step in the career planning process, understanding your values and what drives you is equally important. To discover more about your values you can use the Values-based Inventory of Motivation.  

Register online with your University of Portsmouth email address to access Team Focus and scroll down to the Values-based Inventory of Motivation. After you have completed the inventory a report of your results will be emailed to you. How do your skills, interests and values align with one another? Booking a one-to-one careers appointment would allow you to explore the relationship between your skills, interests and values in greater detail. 

Key skills

You use different skills in everything you do at work and in your studies. Even a relatively simple activity like presenting a report at a meeting involves using a range of competencies at once.

Skills often wanted by recruiters

  • Teamwork
  • Communication in speech and text
  • Negotiating
  • Networking
  • Presenting information
  • Overcoming objections

  • Being proactive
  • Taking a lead
  • Generating ideas
  • Innovation
  • Analysis
  • Research

  • Commercial awareness (understanding business context)
  • Customer/client service
  • Adaptability
  • Resilience
  • Understanding business etiquette

  • Use of specific software
  • Use of hardware
  • Creation of a portfolio, website or showreel
  • Working on live projects
  • Relevant work or volunteering experience

Your personal qualities

As well as specific skills or competencies, other qualities are important for success in work, entrepreneurship or further study.

Personal qualities that recruiters generally look for

  • Motivation
  • Tenacity to complete tasks
  • Use of initiatives
  • Dealing with criticism
  • Overcoming weaknesses
  • Bouncing back after disappointment
  • Perseverance (not giving up when faced with difficulties)

Developing your skills

To enhance your employability or learn new skills, the University has teamed up with LinkedIn Learning, an online course website. As a student, you get free access to the whole library, and you'll keep this access for five months after you graduate.

Use LinkedIn Learning to improve your skills, learn a new skill or just get some tips about a new hobby. Log in using your University login details.

Our recommended courses

Below are our recommended courses to get you developing your skills.