Modern Careers Magazine: The 7 step guide to a personal skills audit - Michelle Gibbings

In order to cope and thrive through change,  you need to keep your skills relevant and continuously refine and adapt your operating style. If you don’t, you’ll quickly become outdated.

Modern Careers Magazine shared my 7 step guide to auditing your personal skills. You can read the full article here.

It’s a cliché to say the world is changing. It has and also will. What’s indisputable, is that the pace is getting faster. To have a thriving career, you need to keep your skills relevant and continuously refine and adapt your operating style. If you don’t, you’ll quickly become outdated. Equipping yourself with new skills and ideas requires a willingness to learn new things.

This is not a responsibility that can be outsourced to someone else. Successful people know it’s their responsibility to direct their career and that learning is a critical part of that process. Everyone learns differently, but what’s common is that people learn better the more involved they are with their learning. As the famous Confucian text said: “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; but directly involve me and I’ll make it my own”.

So, if learning is essential to career success, and it’s more successful if the person finds it interesting and relevant then it naturally follows that each person should have a tailored plan that helps them target how and what they learn. The good thing – this is a simple exercise to do, and it can be fun. Here’s how it’s done…

Step 1 – Examine the present:

Find a quiet location and somewhere that is relaxing. Write down all the current skills and knowledge you have. These skills should be both technical, functional and behavioural.

Step 2 – Imagine your dream job:

Think about what you really want to do? What would it be? What would it involve? What would it take to get there? Don’t limit your thoughts or ideas. Be bold.

Step 3 – Identify the skills:

Consider what new skills you would need to land your dream job. Once again, these should cover technical, functional and behavioural skills. You may find it useful to talk with someone who works in this field or do some research to discover what those skills may be.

Step 4 – Know the gap:

Look at the gap between the skills you have and the skills you need to land that job. For each skill rate yourself on a scale of 1 – 4:

  1. No current skill or knowledge
  2. Some skill or knowledge, but not proficient
  3. Competent at this skill and have knowledge
  4. Expert with a high degree of skill and knowledge

Step 5 – Get creative:

Think about what activities and courses you could undertake to close the gap, and what activities you would prioritise. This may include: books to read, courses to enrol in, journals to subscribe to, new people to meet and new practices to perfect.

Make sure you stretch yourself and have a balance of activities that will be challenging and fun. Consider having a mixture of activities that are cerebral, physical and spiritual – i.e. good for the mind, body and soul.

Don’t be afraid to be adventurous. As we get older we become more reluctant to try new things and do things differently. We all have an inner voice. It voices our fear of failure, of being judged or being held up to ridicule.

To grow and thrive through change it’s essential to harness the power of that inner voice. It’s telling you that you are taking yourself outside your comfort zone – this is healthy! Embrace the feeling, and don’t let it hold you back. Each time you learn or try something new you are challenging your brain. It’s like taking your brain to the gym – and that’s good for you.

Step 6 – Build your plan:

Take the ideas from Step 5 and create a personal development plan that maps out your learning goals, what you will do and by when. Having dates is critical – as you need to hold yourself to account.

Make sure the plan includes clear measurements so you can monitor progress and know when you’ve closed a skill or knowledge gap.

Step 7 – Get busy doing:

The last step is to put your plan into action, and check progress. Also, don’t forget to reward yourself. Celebrate your learning and the progress you’ve made.

Learning to love learning is a life skill, and it’s even better when you are learning with purpose.