How to improve your skill set
A skill set is comprised of many things- it’s a combination of qualities, abilities, and experience that you apply to be able to perform your tasks. This includes soft and hard skills. Soft skills include those such as your interpersonal skills as well as your organization and leadership skills whereas hard skills revolve around those such as writing, programming, and research, amongst others.
Each person’s skill set differs depending on different qualities, be it their natural abilities, interests, or technical skills and personal qualities. No matter your personal skill set, the evolvement of your competency therein can advance your career, enhance your competency, and allow you to perform your job well. It helps to first determine the type of skill sets you have, deliberate on which ones you feel need or do not need improvement, then start acting on those you wish to improve.
Types of skill sets
There are two main types of skill sets, and then there are hybrids, as well as a few others.
These mainly relate to interpersonal skills (and other personality traits). Examples of soft skills include communication, decision-making, adaptability, leadership, motivation, creativity, conflict resolution, time management, and teamwork.
Hard skills mainly related to those that require technical expertise. Examples of hard skills include copywriting, accounting, data analysis, graphic design, mathematics, fluency in foreign language, information technology, and event planning.
Hybrid skill sets
These are a combination of hard and soft skills. Many professions require both to succeed at many jobs. An example of a job that requires soft skills is nursing. Nurses require technical medical training, but they also need to be able to communicate clearly (with patients and administrative staff) as well as facilitate and oversee the communication process between multiple individuals and sometimes multiple groups of people.
Skills that relate specifically to a certain position can be either soft or hard skills or both. These are usually acquired by completing educational courses or on-the-job experience. More often than not, job descriptions include these skills to convey to candidates what is needed to be successful in those roles.
Transferable skills can apply to any job across all levels and industries. Typically these include both soft and hard skills. For example, problem-solving and communication can be used for different positions and industries, and in some cases hard skills such as copywriting, mathematics, and certain medical expertise.
Determine your skills
If you’re interested in improving your skill set(s) but don’t know where to start, consider reflecting on the questions below to help you determine what they are.
1. What do you enjoy?
Skills that would be useful are those that you enjoy or those that come easily (like second nature). For example, conveying information well to others and solving other people’s problems can translate to strong communication skills, listening, and problem-solving skills.
2. Do people give you compliments about how you do something?
If your colleagues or friends give you praise/compliments about certain tasks that you perform or the way that you perform them- Write it down and reflect on them. For example, a performance review might indicate high scores on teamwork, or people may come to you for advice or help with certain tasks.
3. What are your previous accomplishments?
Whether it’s a course/degree that you’ve successfully completed or accomplished something at work (perhaps an award that you’ve received or a project that you’ve completed that resulted in something that was better than expected), make a note of it and include the skills you used to achieve those goals.
How to improve your skills
Some jobs may require you to learn new skills, but it may also be that you want to improve on existing skills simply for personal development. Wither way, there are several ways in which you can go about improving them, or learning new ones. If there's a new habit that forms part of a desired improvement, take a look at our tips here.
Set yourself goals
Make a note of which (specific) goals you have, so that you can reflect on the details and keep track of your progress. These goals should be measurable, achievable, and relevant. It would help to set up a timeline with a start and end date to keep you motivated. Also include smaller goals that can be achieved along the way.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that everything you do is perfect- it may be that while some tasks are accomplished well enough, there is room for improvement to make it excellent the next time around. Ask people you’ve worked with about feedback, so that you can view things objectively and reflect on what aspects could use improvement.
Enrol in an educational course
There are many options available nowadays to allow you to further your education- online or in-person, full-time or part-time, soft skills or hard skills (or both), and a variety of different goals such as courses, diplomas, or degrees. Some may be necessary for your job (such as nursing that requires staff to keep up with new skills, technology, and/or research). Find one that suits your goals and go for it!
Find a mentor
It would be a great help to find a professional mentor to help you on your journey to self-improvement. This would ideally be a superior whom you can trust and respect, that you know will provide you with the knowledge and feedback that you need. You could reach out to them to get involved in informal meetings which could possibly develop into a professional relationship.
Participate in job shadowing
This involves following a professional during their day-to-day job responsibilities and learning about new/different skills along the way. It’s advised that you find someone who is experienced in the role/skill sets you’re looking to improve upon, and who performs well in their position.
At ICG Medical, people are our passion, and developing our talent is one of the most important jobs we have. Our Learning and Development team has a very clear goal – to contribute to the success of ICG by partnering with our brands and colleagues, driving learning that is enjoyable, effective and measurable.
Our learning is designed to educate, motivate and develop our colleagues, with clear learning journeys that expand upon knowledge and skills. By providing our colleagues with tools to drive career success, everyone can thrive. Our learning aligns with career goals, and continuous sector skills training is key to support the ICG colleague journey. Support and development are a way of life at ICG – we are open, we work hard, we are a family. Take a look at all of the reasons why it's great to be part of the ICG family here. If you’re interested in joining our team, please feel free to look at the positions we have available or get in touch with us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.