Qualities are things that you are born with and are inherent to you, although you may also improve upon them over time. Perhaps you are a creative person or organized and always have been. A skill, on the other hand, is something which is learned, although some qualities can also be skills for some people. For example, you could teach yourself to be organized if it does not come easily to you. Other examples of skills might be learning to juggle or speaking another language. Whether you are creating a statement of purpose, applying for a job or trying to promote your business it’s good to know what your skills and qualities are and be confident in them.
In order to identify what your skills and qualities are, start by making a list. Write down anything that you’re good at or anything that you have achieved. However small you think it might be, get it all down in front of you. Any hobbies you have, the jobs you have done, the subjects you have studied – think about what skills are involved, consider what attributes keep cropping up. Remember that skills are transferable, and everything leads on to something. For example, working at your local bar will have improved your communication and cash handling skills.
Following this, you may want to think very specifically about what you are wanting or applying for. Consider the purpose. If you are applying for a job role then look at the person specification, what skills and qualities are they asking for and how can you demonstrate them? If you are writing a personal statement for university, consider the skills necessary for your course.
You may also want to consider what skills you want to develop, as no one’s perfect and showing a want and willingness to learn is a good thing. Be aware of your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Being aware of yourself will help you to achieve what you want to in life. You should focus on your qualities more, as you will already have an advantage. Do not become complacent, we can always improve and if we spend time on things that we are already good at or find easy then we can become amazing. That being said, if you have a weakness which is important for you to strengthen, then of course, you will need to put time into that too.
But beware, it is not enough just to list things that you think people want to hear, i.e ‘I’m good at problem-solving’. People read this on resumes or statements all the time and it becomes meaningless. The best thing to do is give examples and demonstrate that skill or quality to them. You can do this using the STAR technique. (Situation, Task, Action, Result). This tool is often used to help people answer interview questions, but it can also be helpful when you are writing applications. It can help you structure your answers and ensure that you don’t miss anything important out. Be sure to tell them how you have demonstrated the skills and qualities you are claiming to have and what you have achieved.