How to identify your competencies

Competencies are your core products in the job search - your marketable items. Learn more about the 3 competencies, so you can pitch yourself in the application and job interview. And get a template to make your own competence profile.


Get to know your competencies

What is your competency and how do you target it right? In order to land a job, you need to know the answer to those questions – but those questions aren’t always easy to answer. Matching what you have learned during your studies, through voluntary work, a student job or something else with what companies are looking for can be challenging, especially for new graduates.

If you’re not sure about what you can do and what you want to do, you won’t be able to present it clearly to potential employers who place great emphasis on YOU being able to tell them about what competencies you have that are relevant to the specific job.

It’s therefore necessary that you clarify what your competencies are before you begin writing a CV and cover letter. Competence assessment is the foundation of your job search.

Video: What are competencies and how do you create an overview of them?

Video: How to best pitch and present your competencies

In this video we cover the definition of a pitch, how to deliver your skills with examples and to whom.

What are the three types of competencies?

We distinguish between personal, social and professional competencies.

Your professional competencies are the most important part of the material you send to the companies, and those competencies are what they are looking for. Professional competencies cover the specialist knowledge you have from your studies and work experience within natural science, technology or IT.

Your personal competencies are curiosity, power of observation and creativity, for example.

Your social competencies are collaboration, communication and coordination, for example. You won’t be called in for an interview because you “think creatively” – this is too fluffy and unspecific. You’ll be called in for an interview because you clearly presented the professional competencies that the company needs. In our experience, those are the competencies that IDA members have the most difficulty highlighting.

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Video: Identify, prioritize and target your competencies

In this video, we will take you through skill clarification, partly in order for you as a new graduate to focus on your skills and not doubt what you have to offer is relevant. The focus is on professional competencies in the job search material.

Competence profile

One of the ways you can get an easy overview of your skills and compentencies is by listing activities with columns where you can detail what the task entailed along with types of skills you applied to the activity and what results you made. This is what we call a competence profile. We have made an example for you to download and take inspiration from to make your very own competence profile.

Be diligent and list all types of activities from your studies, student job, hobbies and so on. It can take some time, but it is well spent. At the end you are left with a document that you can use in various job seeker situations, like skills and results to highlight in your cover letter and in the research process for unlisted jobs. Listing your competencies gives you a concrete sense of what your skillset is and how you apply it to various tasks. And this makes it easier for you to match your competence with job listings and interview situations.

Here is the example for the comptence profile.

Need help figuring out what your skills are and how to target them?
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