The Three Basic Types of Skills

90 percent of job applicants do not get hired because they cannot describe the skills they have.

On Monday, we established the fact that your ability to describe yourself using your Skills Language is the #1 factor that determines the speed and success of your job search or career transition. Today, we discuss the Three Basic Types of Skills that will help you develop, remember and communicate your best Skills Language.  Do not assume these are too simple for you if you are in the late stages of your career; I have used this technique successfully with all types of job seekers at every “rung of the ladder”.

All skills fall into three general categories. The three types of skills are:

  1. I AM . . . skills are your Adaptive Skills.
  2. I CAN . . . skills are your Action Skills.
  3. I KNOW HOW TO . . . skills are your Special Knowledge Skills.

I AM . . . skills are your Adaptive Skills.
These are sometimes called your Personal Skills, Self Management Skills or your Personality Traits. When completing the sentence, “I am . . . .”, you are describing:

  • your attitudes and beliefs and how you express those through your personality
  • how you adapt to new situations and control your impulses
  • how you handle yourself in relationships with other people, material, space, time and pressure
  • what makes you a good worker

Examples: ambitious, efficient, flexible, creative, patient, enthusiastic, persistent

I CAN . . . skills are your Action Skills.
These are sometimes called your Transferable Skills, Functional Skills or Universal Skills. When completing the sentence, “I CAN . . . .”, you are using a verb to describe:

  • how you act upon information, people and things
  • skills that can be used in a wide variety of jobs and occupations
  • how you get things done in a variety of situations or tasks
  • skills you can transfer from one job to another

Examples: assemble things, analyze data, supervise people, delegate, train, plan, research, follow instructions, organize, write clearly, sort, type

I KNOW HOW TO . . . skills are your Special Knowledge Skills.
These are sometimes called your Performance, Work Content Skills or Credentials. When completing the sentence, “I KNOW HOW TO . . . .”, you are describing:

  • specialized skills acquired through work, training, education or life experiences
  • skills required for a specific job or occupation (not always transferable)
  • what can be considered as your credentials for a specific job
  • what employers often use to “screen” job applicants

Examples: medical terminology, word processing, knowledge of standards, regulations, equipment, procedures, products, industries, markets, etc.

Identify Your Skills
The better you can identify and describe your skills, the better job finder you will be. Consider the skills you have now. List at least three skills you have under each skill area.

Prove Your Skills
For each top skill, describe at least one real situation from your experience that proves you have this quality. Use this format:

  • I AM…, for example…
  • I CAN…, for example…
  • I KNOW HOW TO…, for example…

Later, you will need to decide which skills match the job you want and prove you have these skills using the “STAR” method.

About pdncoach

A Go-Giver business coach working with leaders whose success depends on the performance and productivity of others. I coach individual leaders and their teams... in small to mid-size businesses, ministries and non-profits... to accelerate their results and achieve dreams by getting past the difficult, strategic challenges of their current realities.
This entry was posted in career advice, career planning, job search, skills, Skills Language. Bookmark the permalink.

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