Analyse your Employability Skills


This section looks in detail at a number of skill areas and breaks these down into their components. For example, verbal communication involves both telephone skills and making presentations to groups. You might be quite good at communicating over the phone but poor at talking to groups. Even the skill of presenting to groups can be broken down into components, e.g. using visual aids such as PowerPoint and building a rapport with an audience.

Many skills will overlap. For example, leadership encompasses a number of other skills including co-operating with others, making decisions, and verbal communication. Similarly, listening skills are really a subset of verbal communication skills, but can also be part of other areas such as negotiating and co-operating, so by improving one skill, you may also improve several others at the same time!

Picture of A Key

Skills - the key to getting a job

Go through the following list of skills, selecting any that you feel you already have or would like to improve. Ignore those that you feel are not relevant to you. There are 64 statements to work through. You don't need to answer every question. Some skills you may feel are irrelevant to you - miss these out.

WRITTEN COMMUNICATION: able to express yourself clearly in writing
I have this skill  
I'd like to improve it
Thinking through in advance what you want to say
Gathering, analysing and arranging your information in a logical sequence.
Developing your argument in a logical way. 
Being able to condense information/produce concise summary notes.
Adapting your writing style for different audiences.
Avoiding jargon.
VERBAL COMMUNICATION: expressing your ideas clearly and confidently in speech
I have this
Like to improve
Listening carefully to what others are saying.
Able to clarify and summarise what others are communicating.
Helping others to define their problems. Not interrupting.
Being sensitive to body language as well as verbal information.
Making the right impression by making effective use of dress, conduct and speech.
Keeping business telephone calls to the point.
Thinking up an interesting way to put across your message to groups.
Successfully building a rapport with your audience when speaking to groups.
FLEXIBILITY: adapting successfully to changing situations and environments
I have this
Like to improve
Keeping calm in the face of difficulties
Planning ahead, but having alternative options in case things go wrong
Thinking quickly to respond to sudden changes in circumstances
Persisting in the face of unexpected difficulties
PERSUADING: able to convince others, to discuss and reach agreement
I have this
Like to improve
Putting your points across in a reasoned way.
Emphasising the positive aspects of your argument.
Understanding the needs of the person you are dealing with.
Handling objections to your arguments.
Making concessions to reach agreement.
Using tact and diplomacy.
TEAMWORK: working confidently within a group
I have this
Like to improve
Working cooperatively towards a common goal.
Contributing your own ideas effectively in a group.
Listening to others' opinions.
Taking a share of the responsibility.
Being assertive - rather than passive or aggressive.
Accepting & learning from constructive criticism. Giving positive, constructive feedback
LEADERSHIP: able to motivate and direct others
I have this
Like to improve
Taking the initiative.
Organising and motivating others.
Making decisions and seeing them through.
Taking a positive attitude to failure: persevering when things are not working out.
Accepting responsibility for mistakes/wrong decisions.
Being flexible - prepared to adapt goals in the light of changing situations.
PLANNING AND ORGANISING: able to plan activities & carry them through effectively
I have this
Like to improve
Setting objectives which are achievable.
Managing your time effectively/using action planning skills.
Setting priorities - most important/most urgent.
Identifying the steps needed to achieve your goals.
Being able to work effectively when under pressure.
Completing work to a deadline.
gathering information systematically to establish facts and principles
I have this
Like to improve
Clarifying the nature of a problem before deciding action.
Collecting, collating, classifying and summarising data systematically.
Analysing the factors involved in a problem & being able to identify the key ones.
Recognising inconsistencies in reasoning.
Using creativity/initiative in the generation of alternative solutions to a problem.
Differentiating between practical and impractical solutions.
NUMERACY: able to carry out arithmetic operations/understand data
I have this
Like to improve
Multiplying and dividing accurately.
Calculating percentages.
Using a calculator.
Reading and interpreting graphs and tables.
Using statistics.
Planning and organising your personal finances effectively. Managing a limited budget.
I have this
Like to improve
Word-processing skills.
Using databases (e.g. Access)
Using spreadsheets (e.g. Excel)
Using the Internet and email.
Designing web pages.
Programming skills.


I have this
Like to improve
Accepting responsibility for your views and actions.
Showing the ability to work under your own direction and initiative.
Making choices based on your own judgement.
Paying care and attention to quality in all your work.
Taking the opportunity to learn new skills.
Developing the drive and enthusiasm to achieve your goals.





What next?

Keep a copy of your lists of skills: copy the lists into a wordprocessor using edit|copy or print them out.

For the list of skills you have, write down next to each one, at least one example of where you have demonstrated it. As well as being a confidence booster, this can be vital evidence for application forms and interviews. Many employers now base their interviews very largely around an analysis of your skills in which they will ask for examples of this type. See

For the list of skills you would like to improve, write down next to each at least one way in which you might be able to start improving it. You will find examples of how to improve your skills at