Tying Skills to Accomplishments

Now that you have identified your skills, you need to be able to tell an employer how you have demonstrated that skill in a real life situation. An employer might say: "So you say that you are good at project management. Give me an example of a situation where you have used that skill". Or "Describe to me an accomplishment you feel good about where you demonstrated this skill."

Your next move is to "own" your skills. You need to search your memory for experiences that you can recall to backup your ownership of a particular skill. The accomplishments do not necessarily have to be from your work experience. They can come from any part of your life.

When an employer considers you for a job, they are not necessarily looking for experience directly tied to their industry or even the available position. They are looking for "indicators of potential". They are looking for a skill set. If you can demonstrate that you already have the skills necessary to be successful in the position you are interviewing for, they will hire you.

What are employers looking for? Employers are looking for the same things they have always looked for. They are looking for talented individuals who match their technical needs and who fit into their organizational structure. They are looking for people who have good interpersonal skills, get along with other people, communicate effectively, and who can demonstrate that they have the right stuff: the team, leadership, organization, and problem solving skills that get things done.

Employers want to know that you can do the job they need to have done. They also want to know that you are motivated to do the job. Often times, they will hire an enthusiastic inexperienced candidate over an experienced candidate. Your job is to convince then that you have the necessary skills and that you are motivated to use them.

Here your instructions:

On a sheet of paper, or in your word processer, write down each of the skills that you underlined or highlighted on the Motivated Skills Inventory page.

When you copy the skill descriptions here,   you do not need to write them down exactly as they appeared on the list. What you want to do is to start constructing short, declarative statements describing your particular skills.  

After you have listed your skills, think about what you have done in the past to demonstrate that skill and write down a description of that accomplishment.

These skill descriptions are part of the material you will use later for your resume.

Here is an example:

Skill Accomplishment
Planning:   Able to plan and develop
a program or project,  on time and
under budget,  meeting goals and objectives.

Boy Scout Eagle Scout project:  designed and built a play yard for neighborhood childcare center.
Teaching: Able to explain complex
ideas, concepts, or principles in an
easily understandable fashion.

Tutored high school math students. 
Creative or Imaginative with Ideas:
Using imagination, able to create new ideas, projects, or programs.
Developed a community garden for a neighborhood grammar school.

Designed a high school fund raising program in which students created video advertisements for local businesses. Students in the contest received prizes and businesses donated money to have their advertisements shown on the web and in local media.

This Skill/Accomplishment list is something you want to spend a fair amount of time working on.    After you have written it the first time, you need to continue to zoom in on the precise skill statements that might go on your resume.

Zooming in:  Let's look at the "planning" skill.

On the Skills Inventory, "planning" started as:  Able to plan and develop a program, project or set of ideas through organized and systematic preparation and arrangement of tasks, activities and schedules.

In the example above,   it became:   Able to plan and develop a program or project.

For your resume, the skill statement could become:

   Skilled at project management.


   Able to plan, manage and deliver complex programs and projects.


   Experienced developing, planning and coordinating large scale projects and events.


   Able to schedule tasks and activities for large groups engaged in complex projects.

Your skills assessment does not end here!

Until your resume is complete,  your interviews are done and your salary negotiations are finished, you are going to continue to work on describing your skills and accomplishments and preparing to present them in a clear and concise manner. The more you work on this task, the more confident you will feel as you move forward,  and the more convincing you will be in your self-presentation.

The next task is to take a look at some of your accomplishments and to see what skills you have put to use and felt good about using.