“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.”— Marcus Aurelius
Every professional gets to that point where they realize the need to evolve and upgrade his/her skill set to get to that next level in their career.
When you get to this point you need to have the vision and tools to help you chart the trajectory of your life so that you guarantee that you end up where you want to be. This is where an approach like skills mapping comes in handy.
In essence, what is a map? A map is a symbolic representation of elements of some space, such as objects, regions, or themes. Maps enable us to know where we are, places nearby and far away, how we could get their etcetera. So, when we are talking about skills mapping the idea is exactly the same. It is basically creating a visual depiction of where you are skill-wise versus where you want to be.
Skills mapping is very much similar to what HR personnel calls competency mapping where they identify the specific skills, knowledge, abilities, and behaviors required to operate effectively in a specific trade, profession, or job position.
Now, the question is, how exactly does one draw his/her own skill map? Well, in the same way, physical map artists apply certain steps to draw the map, known as cartography, you too must follow basic steps to chart your skills trajectory.
1. Make note of your current roles (starting point)
The first step is to mark where you are right now professionally. You could be in an entry-level position in your job, find out what the next level is within your organization and how long on average it takes people organically to get there.
Let’s use the example of a technical author in the design industry.
Next, Note down at least 4 future roles (endpoint) For example, in the design industry you can note the Creative Director/Technical Supervisor/Project Manager/Function Head
2. Assess your core competencies.
What skills do you currently possess that you think you can build upon? Write them down for this example we can note creative, organizing, problem-solving, team player, etc
3. Note your strengths and weaknesses.
You want to expand on each skill you identified and note which added skills would make each skill more valuable. This list is naturally longer eg summarizing data, synthesizing/classifying, lateral thinking, IT skills, numeracy, etc
4. Organize your skills into professional skill sets.
But in the first place how do you identify professional skills? Are they the same as academic qualifications? The answer is no. Academic achievements prove that you have learned the trade but professional skills add value by teaching you to be more hands-on. Examples of professional skills are:
- Technical skills
- Leadership skills
- Management skills
- Specialist Skills
By this time, you have the basics for creating the visual map of your skills and you have a pretty organizable framework that might look something like this.
You could also simply use a basic excel sheet design format pie chart (doughnut), the idea is just to have a clear vision of your process. This helps to keep you motivated and have a reference point later, should you choose to take the next steps.
Now the map has given you the layout and you now know your destination, but there are many paths to get there. The surest way of honing your skills is to attain a professional qualification.
Depending on your field of work, you can now begin to research the various programs that can give you the identified skill sets.
Botho University is one institution that not only offers a wide range of professional and post-graduate qualifications, but we have a skills guidance portal designed to assist you in your skills mapping process. Students and graduates can also view emerging career opportunities and job listings on this same portal.
If you want your dream job, start building it today. Visit our Career portal and get started.