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How can I figure out if I’m good at the skills that my workplace requires of me?

There are a lot of ways to figure out if you are good at the skills you need to be successful at work.  We may not be able to know how good we are at the skills we need until we are in the job itself.  The truth is, we may learn skills over time, and so looking at our skills may not be a one-time thing.  Below are some options:

  • Get feedback on your skills from your supervisor.  Ask both what you do well and what you need to improve on.  Your supervisor knows what he or she is looking for.  They may know not only the frequency (how often they want it done), but also the accuracy (how well they want it done) of what they are looking for.  In addition, if they know your work, your supervisor(s) may be an excellent source of information about how you’re doing with those skills.
  • Assess your own skill performance.  If you want to know, for example, how often you perform a particular skill, you can track it (Cohen, et. al., 1986, 2007).  If you want to know if you’re using the skill in the right situations, you can observe and track when, where, and with whom you use the skill, during the day, over a week’s time, or during the month.  You may want to start with asking a supervisor or mentor about how often the skill needs to be done, and where, when, and with whom that skill needs to be done before you start to track it, so you are sure what the expectation is.  You may find that you want to know how you’re doing throughout the year, or that you are asked to rate your own performance in a performance review.
  • Ask a supporter to evaluate your ability to do a skill.  Supporters such as mentors, job coaches, peers, or supervisors may be able to not only tell you what they see as your strengths and limitations, but may be able to be an independent observer as you perform skills needed for your job.
  • Go to the experts. There are lots of vocational professionals who are experts in helping to evaluate what your potential and actual skills are.

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