Skills Analysis 

For this task you will identify and articulate three important employability skills that you have developed and can demonstrate through your work and/or study experience.

Instructions on how to complete the task

Select 3 skills and write approximately 250 words on each skill you have chosen. For each choice write about a situation in which you have shown the skill.

If you would like to write about more than 3 of the skills, that's fine.  You might be asked about a number of skills when you apply for jobs, so it's good to be prepared.

Below are some examples of skills you could choose and guidance on what to cover when discussing them:

  • Team building - How you work with colleagues and other students to complete a task; what your specific role and strength is in a team; how you recognise the roles of other team members; evidence that you appreciate the value of a team and are a loyal and committed team member.
  • Leadership - How you have lead a group of people at work or at university; evidence of the different aspects of leadership, such as managing, supporting, motivating, organising, advising, taking responsibility; what difference your leadership has made.
  • Problem solving - How you have coped with a difficult or challenging situation and come up with a workable solution; evidence of the processes of problem solving, such as analysing the problem, researching and evaluating possible solutions, planning action to a solution; evidence of initiative and flexibility.
  • Communication skills - How you have communicated effectively in writing and speech by selecting appropriate language and methods for the situation and audience; evidence that you understand the importance of listening and can express yourself clearly and professionally in a formal environment; evidence that you understand non-verbal communication and use this effectively.
  • IT skills - How you have used IT packages effectively to facilitate and enhance your work and projects; how you have selected the IT methods used and how the introduction of IT has enabled things that wouldn't have been possible without; how you develop your IT skills.
  • Organisational skills, including time management - How you have controlled time and resources to help you be efficient and effective in your work and study; evidence of prioritisation of tasks and management of deadlines.
  • Creativity - How you have generated original and imaginative ideas; how you have interpreted a brief; how you have demonstrated creativity through written, verbal or visual means.
  • Client/ customer care - How you have managed a client/ customer relationship successfully; evidence of the aspects of client/ customer care, such as clear communication, rapport building, reliability, resolving problems efficiently and acting with integrity.
  • Entrepreneurial skills - How you have spotted opportunities for change, development or improvement; the ideas you have had and the action you have taken to capitalise upon these opportunities.
  • Commercial awareness - How you have identified the external factors that affect the profitability of an organisation or specific business venture; how you stay up to date with trends that affect the industry you are interested in; how you have worked out the commercial viability of different courses of action.

These are just some skills that we have identified, but other skills might be relevant to your career aim. It is acceptable for you to choose other skills, however if you are unsure speak to a member of the careers team.

Help when analysing your skills

Make sure that you structure your analysis of each skill carefully, so that you avoid simply telling a story that doesn't really highlight how you demonstrated your skills or the crucial outcomes of your skills.

You don’t have to use the STAR model, but we do recommend it as it helps you write an effective clear and concise structured answer.

What is the STAR model? Well it divides your skills analysis into four sections:

Situation

Give a brief overview of the situation in which you demonstrated the skill; this might say when and where the situation occurred or the role you were in at the time. For example, ‘when I was in the final year of my degree ....’ or ‘when I was working in a hotel in Ibiza .....’ This part of your answer will normally take up less than 10%.

Task

Outline the task or project you were tackling. This might be a one-off task or something that you undertook on a regular basis. State clearly what the parameters of the task were and why it was important. This part of your answer will normally take up about 20%

Action

Describe the action that you took to complete the task. This should form the bulk of your answer - about 50% - and it should follow a logical, step by step order. Make sure you are writing about what you did, not what other people did or what 'was done' using passive verbs. Use a wide range of accurate vocabulary, in particular active verbs, in your answer.

Result

Describe what the result of your action was and point out how this experience helped you. You could mention what changed as a result of your action; what skills you developed; the feedback you received; any concrete outcomes such as a new website, publication or system. You can also reflect on the activity you have described, saying how you feel about it and how you might do it differently in future. This should take up about 30% of your answer.

You may want to use our template to compose your skills analysis.

Further information

If you are unsure about your skill set you can use prospects to help. Have a look at the ‘Options with your subject’ section and identify a subject that relates to what you are studying.  Each subject page suggests the skills you typically gain while studying that subject; it might be a useful starting point for you. Alternatively have a look at a job profile relating to your career aim and use the list of skills on the entry requirements page to help. This activity will help you identify skills you have, but also possibly those you need to gain or develop.

How is this task relevant to your employability?

This task reflects the analysis of skills which you will need to do in job applications and job interviews.  Many graduate application forms in particular ask you to provide evidence of your skills, and you are required to perform a similar analysis at interview when you are asked questions such as 'Tell me about a time when you have demonstrated excellent communication skills' or 'Describe a time when you have worked in a team to deliver a project to deadline'.

It is really important that you can highlight the skills that your chosen employer requires and speak positively about what you are good at; here's your chance to practice!

What is it assessing?

This task is assessing your written and/or verbal ability to articulate your skills.

Accepted activities

  • The skills analysis written task (as described above)

If you would like to submit an alternative activity that showcases your skills in writing or verbally then contact us to discuss this. This could be an application form with competency based questions or a personal statement, a mock interview which contains competency based questions, a presentation (when the topic covers your skills) or a FACETS test.  

If you are completing this task as part of a module, your tutor will tell you what type of activity is accepted.