Show off your skills

Let's get to grip with skills – why they're important and how to build yours.

Let's get to grip with skills – why they're important and how to build yours.

We all have skills

Whether you’re an avid gamer, an incredible athlete or an unbeatable baker – you’ll be bursting with skills.

You might not know it, but so many of those skills are transferable too. That means you can use them in different scenarios, including at work.

We’re here to help you understand why skills are important, find out what yours are and guide you through showing them off when you’re seeking opportunities after school.

Find out about:

  1. What are skills, and why they're important
  2. What are my skills?
  3. Meta-skills
  4. Our Skills Experience and Skills Explorer tools
Graphic of a notebook with the word skills written

What are skills, and why are they important?

Skills are something you learn through experience, and that you can apply to things you do. You might pick them up at school or work, during activities, or simply by spending time with your family and friends.

They’re important in all areas of life, can be super varied and are used in lots of different situations. You could be working on your problem solving skills in maths, developing your organisation skills while packing for a trip or sharpening your communication skills trying to explain what a meme is. 

When you’re applying to university, college, an apprenticeship or for a job, the person looking at your application will want to know what your skills are – and how you use them.

What are my skills?

It’s not hard to figure out what your skills are – and it’ll give you a real confidence boost to do it.

First, think about all the places you could have been picking up skills – school, leisure, after school activities, clubs, jobs, volunteering, work experience and more. Next, think about the tasks you completed there, and what they helped you learn. 

Here’s a list of skills you might already have, and ones that people reading your application could be interested in:

  • Time management
  • Taking initiative
  • Resourceful
  • Creative
  • Problem solving
  • Building relationships
  • Verbal communication
  • Developing a plan
  • Empathising
  • Supporting
  • Positive attitude

The list goes on!

And the good news is, you don’t suddenly stop learning new skills when you leave school – far from it. You can continue to develop them every day. In fact, you’ll always be developing them – whether you go to college, university, or get a job or apprenticeship. 

Think beyond common skills

Our list of skills above are probably ones you’ve already heard of. But there are some you might not know about yet, like meta-skills.

A meta-skill is sort of like a master skill – it’s something that helps you in lots of different environments, and can be much broader than the other skills we’ve mentioned. A meta-skill could be knowing how to prioritise, improvising when things aren’t going to plan, or being able to hook others in by telling a fascinating story.

Meta-skills are something you can always develop. And doing so will impress the person reading your application. 

What next?

Reflect on your skills

Use our Skills Experience tool to practice writing about the skills you've gained through different activities. You'll need to sign in or register for an account to use it.

Everything you write will be stored here, so you can sign in any time you want to add to it. You can use what’s there to help you write an application or prepare for an interview.

Explore skills and careers

Not sure what you want to do after school? Try our Skills Explorer tool.

Based on the things you write in the Skills Experience tool, it’ll help you think about the future and what you might need to develop to get the career you want.