Career Skill Assessment: Things to Consider Before You Do One

A career skill assessment or competency assessment will help you understand the key characteristics you need to be successful in a particular position or career.

Once you know what skills and competencies you need you can assess your gaps and develop a plan to close them. A career skill assessment or competency assessment is an integral part of your career development process.

It applies to all phases of your career development planning, whether it is for developing in your present position, applying for a new position or changing your career.

The points below will help you to understand why skills and competencies are important and how to factor them in your personal career development plan.


Most organizations use competencies in some shape or form in their Human Resources or People processes. They form an important part of the organization's culture, philosophy and way of doing things. They also tell a lot about the company and help others understand what the company stands for.

Competencies are usually defined by the senior management team and may change over time to reflect changing business needs.

Competencies are used in:

  • Recruitment and selection
  • Performance management, and
  • Training and development

These are the basic and fundamental Human Resources or People Processes. You can do a career skill or competency assessment for each of these processes to establish your gaps.

Why they are important to you

Competencies are important to you because they form the foundation of any development that you will undertake in your career.

They help you to understand the most important things that matter in a certain position and what you need to demonstrate to perform successfully in that position.

You will be able to put together a better career development plan with this knowledge. Click here to learn more about their importance.

Definition and categories

Competencies are generally defined as skills and characteristics that are required to be successful in a position or career.

They can be further broken down into:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills, experiences and abilities
  • Attitudes and values

Competencies can also be grouped into two broad categories as follows:

  • Leadership competencies
  • Technical competencies

Most organizations use a combination of both the leadership competencies and thetechnical competencies to define and clarify their expectations from a particularjob or position.

Competencies vary from position to position and also vary across departments andprofessions. Click here to learn more about what they are and how they apply to you.

Career skill assessment process

Once you know what skills and competencies you need to be successful in your position you are ready to undertake a career skill assessment or gap analysis.

You would generally go through a four step process while doing a career skill assessment.

This would include:

  1. assessing yourself;
  2. generating gaps and reviewing with manager;
  3. developing an action plan; and
  4. monitoring the plan.

Your immediate manager is a key stakeholder in your career skill assessment process and you should keep them closely involved in the process.

They will also be able to give you useful feedback on your gaps, how to prioritize them and make recommendations on various development actions. Click here to learn more about how to assess your competency gaps.

Developing your competencies

Most people are not born with the competencies they need in their job. They learn or develop them.

If you have a competency gap you can also develop them over time.

There are many different ways of developing competencies after you have completed a career skill assessment. Understanding the different ways of developing your skills and competencies will help you put together an effective development plan.

One of the best ways of developing competencies is by learning through doing or learning in your job. Click here to learn more about the different ways of developing yourself and your competencies.

Next steps and further information

Finally, it is in your interest to learn about this process and use it to create your employee development plan. There are a lot of other resources you can tap into both at work and outside which will help you with your career skill assessment process and competency development.

Do not hesitate to ask for help and guidance from other people including your manager. There are many other resources you can tap into for further information.

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