Compe­tences and Their Recognition

What is competence?

Compe­tence is the command that enables a specific type of activity. Compe­tence is knowing what, why, and how.

Compe­tences can be developed every­where, in studies, at work, or through hobbies. Recog­nition of compe­tences strengthens your ability to build meaningful study and career paths. It can also increase motivation and speed up graduation.

Students’ career abilities include the recog­nition of the situa­tions when something is accom­plished and the means to document and evaluate how compe­tence develops and is made visible. You can reflect on your studies and work to identify what kind of expertise they concretely produced. The groundwork is based on your self-knowledge. Self-awareness consists of your passions, person­ality, attitudes, values, and networks. Employers are inter­ested in the same in you.

What is my area of expertise? How do I recognize my skills? In the Finnish culture, speaking of one’s skills is easily perceived as bragging. For this reason, it can be difficult to put your knowledge and skills into words.

However, a realistic under­standing of one’s skills and speaking about them is not boastful. Instead, it can increase your confi­dence and self-assurance and be considered as a strength in the labour market. When you know what you know and you dare to say it to others, you are more likely to find a suitable and meaningful job.

What does compe­tence consist of?

Compe­tence consists of knowledge of facts. It also contains both vocational skills and generic skills, such as learning ability and IT skills. Compe­tence also includes personal charac­ter­istics, for example, your experience, operating models and principles, and the attitudes and approach to work.

Task 1. Watch the webinar Mapping your skills and compe­tences. You need to register first with your email address to be able to join the webinar (Momentum project 2021)

Knowing your skills and compe­tencies is essential in job seeking and overall in career planning. How else to promote yourself to inter­esting companies, headhunters and other work life connec­tions? In addition, by mapping your skills and compe­tencies, you can widen up the possi­bil­ities you have – both on job seeking as well as self-employment!

On this webinar the main objective is to help you to think about your compe­tencies on a wider way and by doing so, to broaden up the possi­bil­ities on where and how to promote your expertise.

Task 2. What kind of expertise do you have now?

Explore the compe­tence areas below and describe your current compe­tences. Create a list of your skills and describe the quality of your skills from 1 to 5 (1 is poor and 5 is excellent)

Your expertise can consist of the following competences

Social skills: teamworking skills, inter­per­sonal skills, flexi­bility, and adaptability

Commu­ni­cation skills: spoken and written commu­ni­cation skills in one’s first language, presen­tation skills, commu­ni­cation skills in foreign languages

Technical skills: IT skills, ability to use technical equipment

Business and financial acumen: recog­nition and under­standing of the mecha­nisms and proba­bil­ities of economic devel­opment, compe­tence in financial admin­is­tration and management and cost accounting, compe­tence in marketing and selling

Inter­na­tional compe­tence: commu­ni­cation skills in foreign languages, knowledge of a specific area, country, or culture

Generic workplace skills: skills in creative thinking, learning skills, problem-solving skills, project management, and leadership skills

Source: Käännös. Sujuvat työnhaku­markkinat –hanke (Flexible Job Seeking project). Creative Commons Nimeä-EiKau­pallinen-JaaSamoin 4.0 Kansain­vä­linen -lisenssillä.

Task 3. My Features and Strengths

1. What kind of roles do you have in your life?
For example, you are someone’s child, brother or sister, student, friend, or club member. Write down your roles.

2. What kind of qualities do you have in that role? (e.g. as a student: active, punctual, caring, etc.) Write down the qualities in each role.

3. Choose the qualities that you want to maintain and strengthen in your life. Write down those qualities.

Source: Palaset paikolleen – Vaihtoe­hdoista valin­noiksi – urasu­un­nit­telun malli ja sen työvä­lineet. Korkeak­oulus­tartti-hanke 2020.

Person­ality and Self-Awareness

You can try to change your attitudes, but first, you need to know yourself and think honestly who you are and what you want.

Here is the list of the most important work community skills

1. Inter­action skills, in particular listening

2. Valuation and respect as the basis for action

3. Openness and integrity as a source of trust

4. Empathy, the ability to under­stand or feel what another person is experiencing

5. Ability to be genuinely present in the moment, showing interest and being focused

6. Emotional intel­li­gence, ability to under­stand the meaning of emotions and use such under­standing at work

7. Self-awareness, identi­fying one’s own strengths and weaknesses

8. Manners, being mindful and tactful to others verbally and nonverbally

9. Self-reflection ability, skills to self-evaluate and analyse one’s own actions

10. Learning ability, maintaining the relevance of one’s compe­tences in the times of change

What are you like as an employee and member of a work community? Are you “a debater”, “a mediator”, “a defender” or “an adven­turer”? Or perhaps “efficient performer” or “enthu­siast planner”? At work, self-awareness and self-knowledge save lots of time and help you avoid frustration. They help you under­stand yourself and others and to highlight everyone’s best features and resources.

Task 4. Take Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test
Think about what the test reveals and if you can recognize yourself in it. What is your “work self” on the basis of the test?
Describe the results of the test and your thoughts on the validity of the test results – do you think that is what you are like? Write your thoughts down for yourself.

Source: Käännös. Sujuvat työnhaku­markkinat –hanke (Flexible Job Seeking project). Creative Commons Nimeä-EiKau­pallinen-JaaSamoin 4.0 Kansain­vä­linen -lisenssillä.

Strengths

You can start identi­fying your own strengths by thinking what inspires you. Identi­fying your strengths is much more important than focusing on weaknesses. Acknowl­edging one’s strengths does not eliminate the weaknesses or deny their existence. It does not mean that you just continue doing what you already do well. You can use your strengths in new areas, where they have not been used yet.

One way to find your strengths is to consider how you have coped with difficult situa­tions earlier in life. Which strengths have helped you to move on?

Focusing on your strengths inspires and gives you energy. It is worth thinking what you are attracted to, immersed in, and where you have been partic­u­larly skilled.

1. Attention: What do you naturally pay attention to? For example, what do you read about in a magazine or what do you notice when you walk in an unfamiliar place?

2. Fast learning: What do you learn effort­lessly, even right away when you hear about it for the first time? Fast learning may be an important clue to where your strengths are.

3. Motivation: What do you do just for its own sake? Strong internal motivation often tells about strengths.

4. Voice and gestures: When do your voice, language and speech, and gestures become energetic and active?

Task 5. Conduct a strength test at https://www.viacharacter.org/survey/account/register. Consider the results of the test and list what kind of strengths you got.