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Defining "Skills"

Skills can be divided into both soft and hard skills. 

Soft skills include customer service, team work, leadership, communication, and time management, to name a few. These skills are learned over time, and some may never be learned at all. 

Hard skills are required to work in a specific field. For example, a nursing student must learn to start an IV before becoming a nurse. 

What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills are both hard and soft skills acquired through various experiences and are relevant to what a future position requires you to possess when applying.

How can you identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities you possess?

  • Create a list of skills you think you possess, or use this transferable skills checklist to identify your skills
  • Check out the job skills checklist if you need assistance listing your skills
  • Provide one example of how you use each skill on your list (or how you gained the skill)

What if you have never worked? Here are other ways you can develop skills and experience:

Working a part-time position in high school is an excellent way to develop skills; however, it is not the only way to develop skills that will transfer to positions while you are in college. Other activities that develop skills include:

Sports Clubs Volunteering
Religious-affiliated activities Yard work Housework
Group projects/course work Community service Caring for others

How do you identify knowledge, skills, and abilities required for your future career?

  • Check out O*NET OnLine and the Occupational Outlook Handbook
  • Search for your future career
  • Review the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required for the field
  • Identify all the KSAs you possess by comparing them to your checklist
  • Provide an example of how you use the KSA or how you gained the KSA in your experiences
  • Identify KSAs you do not possess and move on to the How Do I Gain Experience section