Skills stories

March 24, 2011

Career counseling

Many of the common career counseling tools are based around interests and preferences. But just because you like something or find it interesting doesn’t mean you’re good at it. How do you find the areas where your interests and skills intersect?

“Skills stories” seem to be a good way to do this. They are a key tool in Richard Bolles’ quintessential career guide What Color is Your Parachute? My career consultant keeps these in her toolbox, too. Hence, my current assignment.

The first step is to select your topics – about seven from different times in your life. A project, or piece of a project, where you overcame an obstacle and accomplished a goal. Something where you had fun and a successful outcome.

Write a one-page story detailing the steps you carried out to achieve the goal. Later, read your story as more of an observer and try to identify all the individual skills you used. To me, this part seems a little vague and difficult. Luckily, there’s a great section in Bolles’ book that is helpful in identifying what exactly a skill is.

The hope is to see a pattern, across all the stories, in the skills that emerge.

I have created my list of topics, but have only begun to write the stories. Most of my story topics, projects that meet the criteria of fun and successful, are in the art and writing categories. And most of them are personal projects. I struggled to think of “fun” projects that I did as part of my employment. Aha! Further confirmation that this journey is taking me toward an exciting, more enjoyable new discipline.


Image: DrPhil

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3 Comments on “Skills stories”

  1. broadsideblog Says:

    So interesting!

    Mine almost always involve inspiring others and leading them to help me on a shared project. Not many jobs seem to call for this, or not ones I’ve ever seen. But I know I’m good at that and it makes me really happy — to inspire, to lead and to achieve a shared goal.

    Yet I’m a writer, working all alone all day.



  2. gretchen Says:

    Ha! It’s not too late for me to add it!


  3. Leslie Says:

    Um, hello? WINDBUSTERS! Duh!


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