Assess your competence and preparedness for working life

Consider your competence and what you want from working life. Find out also how your skills correspond to the needs of employers.

Mapping one's own competence

Mapping one's own competence is an important part of the job search process. Divide your work history, educational record, and other skill areas into sufficiently small units. This way you will know what you have collected so far in your skills basket. From there, you can pick out for each position you apply for the skills and characteristics that best respond to the important question that an employer will ask you: why should I choose you for this job?

Remember that competence and resources develop and form throughout life. In your work, studies and hobbies, you have learned to understand different data sets and ways of working. When applying for each new job, it is a good idea to consider whether there has been something more in one area or whether you have developed your competence further.

Identify technical skills and soft skills

In addition to education and work experience, you have also accumulated the knowledge and skills needed in working life through your life at home and your hobbies. Your professional knowledge and skills and your personal characteristics come together in the different capabilities you have.

In addition to general and specialised technical skills specific to your professional field, you also need soft skills in working life

  • Technical skills include the use of Excel or mastery of a specific welding method.
  • Soft skills include cooperation skills and organisational capacity.

By knowing your strengths and weaknesses, you know what jobs you should apply for, even if you do not meet all the characteristics listed and wished for by the employer.

What general working life skills do employers value?

The Central Chamber of Commerce has produced a report on the kind of skills that companies need. According to the respondents, the most important areas of general competence, regardless of the person’s basic education, are their ability to take initiative and their problem-solving skills.

Vocational education and training tasks emphasise

  • initiative
  • customer service skills
  • teamwork skills.

Students graduating from universities of applied sciences are expected to demonstrate

  • initiative
  • problem-solving skills  
  • customer service skills.

In the case of university graduates, the focus is on

  • management skills
  • business competence
  • problem-solving skills.

Matters that you know and of which the employer is interested in, are the actual skills that it is good to add to the application and which you primarily market to the employer. The better you know the employer and the needs of the employer, the better you can select those skills that your employer seeks from the employee.

If you have no work experience

The lack of work experience makes it more difficult to apply for a job, but it is still a good idea to boldly highlight your competence even if it is not based on work experience. For example, it is possible to accumulate competence and different skills through hobbies.

Competence and work experience are two different things. For example, anyone can learn to independently use a system that is important for the applied job. This is why you should carefully consider your own working life skills before making your job application and CV.

If the job advertisement contains contact information, please boldly call the employer. Personal contact may improve your chances and the employer will remember your name.