Self-knowledge and Skills Gap Analysis: What is It and Why Should You Care?

Self-knowledge and Skills Gap Analysis: What is It and Why Should You Care?

#jobsearchstrategy #careercoaching #skillsgaps #goalsetting #strengths

Well, are you on the way to land your dream job?

Or are you searching for your first job but not quite sure what the best way would be to do it?

Or are you planning to change your career and start a brand new activity after several years poured into something very different?

Or are you feeling stuck after sending your CV to billions of places and hardly getting any answers from them?

To succeed on the very competitive job market today, you need to be both proactive and inventive with your overall search and application strategy. I show you four points that you should be clear about if you aim to outstrip the above aching questions:

1. Be clear about your goals!

Of course it is not gonna be enough for you to say, “I wanna get a good job somewhere in the near future”. You need to be far more specific about what you would like to achieve in your professional life. Go close to your dreams and imagine in what workplace, in what role you would feel yourself really at home and why is it so! The anwers you give here are going to be your torchlight all along the road later on as well.

2. Assess thouroughly the requirements of your target job!

Once you defined your target companies and target roles, like it or not, you should turn into a savvy salesperson ready to satisfy their customer’s need.

First, you want to understand what your future employer really needs to acquire. Your main source of information here is the job advert itself with the description of tasks and expectations.

However, why not go the extra mile and collect as much information about the wider context of the specific job as you can? Such as:

  • What is the company culture there?
  • What are their main challenges these days?
  • What counts as success and what about the failures there?

All of them are useful pieces to integrate within your “sales strategy”. After all, you’ll want to offer your whole manpower in terms of knowledge, professional experiences, skillset, ambition and so forth to your “customer”, that is to your employer, so be a foregoer!  

To get this type of information, contact your friends who already work in the company, read the company website and blog posts, and/or check their social media and the press about them – in other words: do your own thorough research on your target company! 

3. Make a list of your own strenghts!

Once you understood what your target is and what their needs are, you can put yourself more easily into the shoes of an ideal candidate. And here comes the second part of your sales activity: pull out your assets that match the expectations of your “client”.

Answer the following questions before any job interview:

  • Why would they be satisfied upon hiring me into that specific position?
  • What added value could I contribute to their success?

Reflect upon those of your unique capabilites that justify well your application to the job. If you don’t find any or at least not sufficient, then either you should re-align your goals or you didn’t seek hard enough ?. 

4. Do your skills gap analysis!

This is the hardest part. An honest look into the mirror, which you can’t miss and where it’s really not worth cheating yourself. Draw a simple table with the job requirements in the beginning of each row and with your various assessments on top of the columns, and fill it out mercilessly:

Most of the times you’ll have to estimate the importance and the required levels of the skills, since you won’t find this information in the job description. Never mind, make your guess! Your overall understanding of the needs of the employer (see in point 2!) will guide you in assessing the relative weight of each requirement.

Also, in lack of a specific certificate or test result, how could you possibly know what your actual level is of a certain skill? Now, think of an example from your previous experiences when you demonstrated that skill. What happened there? How did you solve that situation? How that specific skill played a role in the overall case? As soon as you can relate to a concrete example, you can also associate an estimated score to it.

Assess also what it takes for you to close a gap and whether you are willing to make that sacrifice.

Finally, define some very broken down action steps to implement!

Congratulations! You’ve done a good job so far!