09/03/2016 04:42 GMT | Updated 09/03/2017 05:12 GMT

Could a Skills Health Check Boost Your Career Prospects?

The UK is creating jobs at a faster rate than any other EU country which is fantastic news, however, ongoing issues relating to skills shortages, skills gaps, over-skilled workers and mismatched skills.....can make things a little confusing for those wanting to further their career.

There is no better time to evaluate your skills and abilities - these are valuable assets unique to you, which shouldn't be overlooked.

The world of work is always changing, as are the skills requirements of employers. There has been a lot of media hype surrounding skills shortages in recent years, especially with the increase in job creation in the UK which reached a six month high last month. Employers are on the lookout for people with the skills they need to develop their organisations. You could have some of those sought after skills and not even realise.

Here are 5 great reasons to take a skills health check:

  • Make better career decisions
  • Uncover new work opportunities
  • Increase your self-awareness and confidence
  • Perform better in interviews
  • Identify what skills you need to develop in order to progress in your career

So, let's make 'skills' a little less ambiguous....

Put simply, a skill is something you've learned how to do. The types of skills you need for work can be split into three main categories - technical, transferable and personal.

Working in the recruitment industry, I often hear feedback from employers that a high proportion of applicants they interview cannot explain their skills. In many cases, these people will have the necessary skills to be successful in the job but struggle to communicate them effectively.

Very often, people will focus on their technical skills as they are the easiest to identify. Though these are important, employers want a person for more than just their ability to perform a specific task. In the changing world of work, transferable and personal skills are becoming increasingly important. If you have a clear understanding of your skills, it helps you to be more confident when you approach employers.

How to carry out a skills health check:

It's very simple to review your skills, as long as you have clarity on the different types of skills and can match your own experiences to them. It does take a little time and patience to identify, list and describe your skills, but you should plan to invest the time needed as it can be critical to your job search success.

Online Tools: There are many tools online which can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, the National Careers Service offer a comprehensive skills assessment online for free, which will give you a report to download at the end (each section takes around 10-15 mins, so make sure you set aside enough time to do it.)

Self-Assessment: If you'd prefer a quicker and more simplistic method, try using a simple 'skills health check' form to evaluate all three skills groups and identify your strengths and weaknesses.

​Remember, you have control over your entire job search process. Life and work decisions are always most satisfying when they fit with the values most important to you. Reviewing your skills, values and competencies in a structured way can really help you to identify the type of work that is best suited to you, as well as highlight career options you hadn't previously considered.