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Creating a skills audit & using science to determine your perfect career

By Yvette McKenzie | 16 June 2017

A Skills Audit is a scientific tool that you can use to find your next job. Is there such a thing as “the perfect career” for you? Is there one thing that you truly are destined to do with your life to achieve ultimate success?

Believe it or not, there is a science behind finding your calling in life, based on your current skills, deeper moral positioning and future desires and goals.

Dr Howard Thurman was an influential author, philosopher, educator, and scientist who famously said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go and do it - because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

To discover your ultimate calling in life, as you stand on the precipice of beginning a new career path, there are many scientific strategies you can use to help you find your way. Reassess what it is you want to do in the future, look at past achievements and failures with rational thinking and narrow down a series of paths that you can take to kickstart a new path into a job that you will find more personally fulfilling.

As old job roles disappear, new pathways emerge

Career and life coach Martha Beck, says that the reason why many young people are unsure about their career paths is because the old and well-trodden options are now disappearing, making room for new and innovative job roles that might in fact lead people to be confused, due to "too much choice". She states that so many workers often fall into the trap of evaluating a good career by how much money it can potentially make them, or by what other people expect.

Beck believes that the best way to find a fulfilling career is to abandon the rational part of yourself, the part that thinks about monetary compensation, job stability, and all those other things. “To find - or rather, design - your perfect career, you have to let your ‘animal self’ lead you through a wilderness of choice.”

Below Skillstalk will break down some rational ways that you can brainstorm ideas to help you nail down a series of new potential jobs that you would be suited to. Often what we are passionate about is not what pays the bills, and often what we do for remuneration is not what gives us fulfillment – how can we lock down what we should be doing and reconcile that with what we are doing, or what we’ve had success with in the past?

Can I get paid to do what makes me happy?

The first question to ask yourself is what makes you happy. What would you be doing if money wasn’t an issue? How would you spend your days? What things would you gladly do regardless of the financial compensation? Grab a pen or an open spreadsheet and make a list of every instance where you felt utterly happy and absorbed in an activity, no matter how small it seems. Was it something creative? Something altruistic like raising money for a local community project? Was it something you did for fun like reading a book, watching a movie or posting to social media?

Believe it or not – homing in on what gives you joy might be the first stepping stone to finding a career that not only pays the bills, but provides longevity.

happy male employee

Identify your skills with a Skills Audit

The benefits of creating a skills audit are spreading across users on the web. The Queensland government provides a great online checklist to help you assess your saleable business skills. Working on your skills audit is one of the first steps you can take.

What things are you good at? Are you good at organising, communicating, planning or presenting? It may be helpful to ask your colleagues (past or present) close friends, classmates, or even family about your strong points. They may be able to identify your personal qualities and skills much more objectively than you.

There is also scientific proof that doing a job you love, benefits you in the long term. A recent scientific university study suggested that, “Being happy at work and loving what you do is an overall productivity booster and enhances performance. People who enjoy their jobs are more likely to be optimistic, motivated, learn faster, make fewer mistakes, and better business decisions.”

Steps to consider in your Skills Audit

Here's how to lay out your own simple Skills Audit which will help you break down what you're likely to find work in and what you're likely to feel fulfilled by doing. Use these steps loosely, as if you were brainstorming. No idea or concept is "off the table" at this stage of planning. Here are the 7 steps to creating a Skills Audit. 

#1 Plan: Divide a piece of paper or spreadsheet into quadrants

#2 Labeling: Label them as Strengths, Weaknesses, Current Known Skills, Skills to Develop

#3 Quadrants: Fill in each quadrant with relative information – think outside the square

#4 Influence: Then make a list of “influencers” – mentors, colleagues, people you admire on a professional level

#5 Transferable: Consider transferrable skills: what can you build on?

#6 Interpersonal: Consider interpersonal skills: what are your personal communication strengths?

#7 Futureproof: Check out Dream Career: How to Climb the Career Ladder for further useful tips

goals check list

Zero in on a Career

The next step is to zero in on jobs or professions that incorporate the things that make you happy and the things that you are good at. If you love dealing with people, perhaps a career in community services. If crunching numbers is something you’re good at, maybe a career in accounting and finance. If you find joy in troubleshooting computer issues, maybe your true calling lies in information tech.

Look at both the upsides and downside of that career. For example, if you’d like to be a childcare worker, will you be able to deal with early starts? If you’d like to start a small business, are you ready to handle the risks involved in putting one up? If you’re considering a career in corporate training, will you be able to manage being around diverse people for most of the day?

Acquainting yourself with what your life will look like if you proceed down that path will allow you to make a more informed decision.

Go through relevant job listings to assess the current marketplace

An examination of job openings and listings will give you a better idea of the requirements that you need to find the job you desire within the current marketplace. Be realistic. Look at the skills you’ll need, based on job listings. What skills do you have that are transferable?

What you want is to have nailed these career requirements and to ideally exceed them. If a position requires several units of a course, consider returning to study. Today there are many online learning opportunities that you can undertake in your own time, at your own pace, more flexibly than ever before.

man hiking bushland

Talk to people in your chosen industries

It might be a good idea to touch base with professionals who are already in your chosen industry. Do they have any advice for beginners? What kind of talents did they have to cultivate? What skills came in handy? This will give you a better feel for the career that you’re entering.

Whether you’re a fresh graduate, unhappy at your current job, or facing a total career change, it might just be the right time to start considering a new career path. Find the perfect job role for you by realising your skills and strengths, identifying what it is that makes you happy, and working towards bettering yourself so that you’ll be fully equipped by the time your career calling is revealed to you.

ebook snapshot - How to land the career of your dreams


Ready to take the plunge?

Undertaking training and balancing your existing life might feel overwhelming but with Upskilled’s flexible delivery its completely achievable. Download our eBook How To Land The Career Of Your Dreams Without Leaving Home. Enhanced job satisfaction, upgraded salary expectations, and improved career prospects are specific outcomes often reported back by participants of Upskilled’s courses. Start your journey today by searching over 100 flexible online courses.

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