Assessing Your Skills
The foundation of a successful job search is a solid understanding of your skills, capabilities, strengths, and accomplishments. An employer will be looking to determine if you fit with the organization and the position for which you have applied. Fit is determined by analyzing two things-whether you "can" do the job and whether you "will" do the job. To determine "can," employers assess your skills against the threshold skills required for the position. Determining the "will" is much more difficult. Employers try to develop an understanding of what motivates you to do your best work and in what type of environment you have had your greatest successes. They will then try to determine if these things are present in their environment.
Many employers define the competencies that are needed for someone to be successful in a particular position. These competencies may be stated as job qualifications in a vacancy announcement or advertisement. A competency is an underlying characteristic of an individual that is causally related to effective and/or superior performance. In the book, Competence at Work , authors Lyle and Signe Spencer (Spencer & Spencer, 1993) report the research they have conducted exploring whether there is a common set of competencies that are predictive of success in some broadly defined occupational fields. Their research indicated that in addition to identifying the specific competencies that are required for success in major occupational categories, they could also determine the relative importance of each competency in distinguishing superior performers from those whose performance was average or acceptable. Read about characteristics for managers and technical professionals in SLP Competencies and Audiology Competencies.
To help you develop an achievement orientation, Dick Grote of Grote Consulting suggests reading and applying the strategies in Stephen Covey's book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (1989, 2004). To develop impact and influence, he recommends studying Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People (1981).
In addition to these broad-based competencies, you must also identify and prepare to communicate the very specific technical and functional skills and knowledge you have obtained.