What Are Skills? (With Tips on How to Improve Them)

Looking for ways to improve your skills is the first step towards personal growth. It means you recognize that you still have an unexplored potential and you wish to work on it to become a better version of yourself. People looking to improve their skills may have different reasons to do it. They may want to achieve certain goals, progress in their careers or they can simply be looking for a sense of fulfillment. The skill or set of skills you are looking to improve may require a specific approach, but there are a few steps that are common to any process of self-development.

Hard Skills vs Soft Skills

Example of skills

There are several skill categories that you might decide to develop. Below are examples of types of skills and the kinds of competencies you could gain by mastering a skill type:

Job skills

Employers look for candidates with skills that can add to the workplace to ensure a job is performed properly and the worker is able to adapt to handling increased responsibilities. Job skills include:

Leadership skills

The following skills fall under the category of leadership:

Organizational skills

In business environments, leaders must have the ability to organize both inputs and corresponding outcomes. Some organizational skills include that help with this include:

Life Skills

Skills are also transferable between jobs, life events and situations. Some personal life skills include:

What are skills?

Skill is a term that encompasses the knowledge, competencies and abilities to perform operational tasks. Skills are developed through life and work experiences and they can also be learned through study. There are different types of skills and some may be easier to access for some people than others, based on things like dexterity, physical abilities and intelligence.

Skills can also be measured, and levels determined by skill tests. Most jobs require multiple skills, and likewise, some skills will be more useful for certain professions than others.

How to improve skills

Improving your skills provides tremendous benefits in both your professional and personal lives. Improving your skills can open new doors to better opportunities. There are a few steps you can take to improve your skills:

1. Make a list of the skills you wish to improve

Some skills are in more demand than others. Before you begin, make sure that your efforts are worthwhile with a skill that you will use. You can do this by making a list of all the skills that you need to enhance your life and career.

2. Dedicate yourself to improving your skills with investments

Understand why you are improving your skills, what motivates you and be prepared to make investments of time or money in skill development and training.

3. Set honest goals and milestones

Be honest about your skill level and realistic chances of improvement and create skill development timelines. Set honest and reliable goals that you are likely to be able to hit along the way.

4. Get a coach or mentor

This could be as simple as following the people that you admire who are good at doing what to wish to do. You may go as far as contacting them, when appropriate, through a networking relationship or business social networking website or professional organization.

5. Have a plan for improving the skill

Once youve established goals and milestones, you need a plan to enact them. This could include breaking down skill development into modules, or specific training initiatives or practice.

6. Get some support

Having a strong support system is a great asset when it comes to developing skills. Think about participating in activities through a professional organization, leadership training classes or other events that connect you with people who can support you.

7. Monitor your progress

Develop a system for feedback. You can record yourself, ask others, or benchmark your performance against suitable models.

8. Have fun with the process

Skill development and learning new things can be an enjoyable experience. Make the most of it by having fun along the way.

Skills in the workplace

The workplace provides opportunities to practice and improve on the job skills. Some highly desirable skills for the workplace include the following:

How to highlight skills

Employers are looking for evidence that your skills meet the companys requirements. When highlighting skills on your resume, you need more than a list of your qualifications and accomplishments.

Skills on a resume

Here a few steps to follow to highlight your skills:

Skills for a cover letter

The skills you include in your cover letter should match those that you collect from the job description as well as your basic job skills: How you highlight your skills depends on your situation and the job for which you are applying.

If you are changing jobs or industries, you can wish to introduce a brief narrative of your transferable skills. The strongest way is to highlight your past achievements as they relate to the job for which you are applying.

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