building career skills

Building Skills: Performing a Skills Gap Analysis

If you are looking to create a better career for yourself, either by becoming an indispensable member of your organisation, or by reinventing your career completely, one of the first steps you’ll need to take, is to perform a Skills Gap Analysis.

Skills Gap Analysis

A Skills Gap Analysis is just what it sounds like. You are looking at your own skills, analysing them as a whole to identify the areas that need further development. But what are the best ways to do that?

Look Back Over the Data

Think back to any reviews you’ve had at work. If you have a formal, annual review, look back at the documentation from your past reviews. Even if you haven’t had a formal review though, think back on any feedback you’ve been given from supervisors or peers. Are there any themes that come up?

This might not necessarily be in the form of negative feedback. Think back on discussions about your future growth, or the growth of your organization. Are there any skills that had been discussed as “nice to have” rather than “need to have” skills?

Note down any skills that you can remember, or any others that come to mind while you’re thinking. You know more about your skills and desires than anyone. Don’t ignore your own insight.

Prioritising Feedback

Look back at the areas you’ve listed so far. It’s time to prioritise; but we’re going to put a slight spin on how we think about this. The top priority skills for you, are the ones that you know you’re lacking in, but that you want to get better at. Find your motivation! You’re going to need it. The next level of priority: skills that you know you’re lacking in, and need to get better at. These are the things that you know will be hard, and you may not be looking forward to, but are undoubtedly going to help you in your career, and in life.

It’s also helpful to identify any skills that you absolutely have no interest in developing at all. It is possible, and in fact, happens pretty regularly, that people develop skills that they don’t have any passion for, and end up using those skills day-in-day-out for years. Identify the skills that you don’t want to get stuck developing and using.

Look at Your Past

Think back to your past. Where have you excelled? Where have you leaned in groups or teams where you could choose a role? What careers have you looked at, and thought, ‘that’s exciting, I could do that!’ Why?

What being a Flight Attendant Taught Me

Years ago, in a former life, I had a lovely job as a flight attendant. There were many reasons why I enjoyed the high-flying life, but mostly, it taught me that customer service is my passion. Providing top-of-the-line customer service has been the red thread that runs through my entire career. By looking to my past, I was able to pick out a particular theme that motivated me, and used that to guide my career.

Targeting Skills to Build

If you’re looking at changing careers—moving up the corporate ladder, changing industries, or even starting your own business—discover what skills you’ll need in the particular role you have your eye on.

Start at the basics. Note the required or preferred skills in related job descriptions. Look at listings even if the particular jobs are out of your geographic range, or you think are too prestigious for you. You’ll find valuable insight, opportunities to build your network, and you may even find the inspiration you need to start the application process.

Another good place to start your research is Linkedin. Connect with people who are working in the industries and occupations that interest you. What sorts of skills are they being endorsed for? Keep your eye out for any patterns. This is, of course, another wonderful way to build your network, farm contacts, and get your name out there as well. A win-win.

Get Excited

Now that you’ve identified some skills to build, and some potential new roles, it’s time to get excited. It’s time to start gathering resources, finding mentors, advocating for yourself, and making things happen!

 

Are you ready to take the next step in your career? Get in touch today!