2012

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Survey: Skills Based Approach
… best way to build expertise with a skill is to take on a project at work – 87.2% of the respondents reported it as “very effective” … most respondents (68.90%) have searched on a skill set and the largest segment (47.1%) think a skill set is somewhat effective in “summarizing a professional background” … a sample of work (1.83) is the best indicator of your level of expertise of a skill … clear majority of the respondents “strongly agree” that you can learn a skill “if you work on developing it and am determined to learn it properly”

[SURVEY: SKILLS BASED APPROACH]
This study includes the results of a survey sent to 119 human resource professionals in the United States. The objective of the study was to understand the effectiveness of a skill set as a summary of a professional background, what are ways to learn and build an expertise with skills, and the best ways to validate skills.

69. there is a message that if you are passionate about something. I broke down the survey results into 5 sections. There will be more discussion on the survey results about validating a skill in a later blog.0% of the respondents ranked “certificate from a third-party” first or second. you should still dedicate time and effort to learn the skills properly. I distributed the survey to 119 Human Resource professionals from various industries and services. The best way to build expertise with a skill is to take on a project at work – 87. This is followed by “years of experience” (2. in the marketing world. in the IT world. On the next page is a diagram that illustrates the four steps of the Skills Based Approach: Copyright 2012 TheProfessionalWebsite Page 1 .Survey: Skills Based Approach Published 12/14/2012 by TheProfessionalWebsite Overview – A Skills Based Approach I decided to take my skills based approach to the streets with a survey.6% of the respondents disagree that you should “only develop skills based on your strengths”.1%) think a skill set is somewhat effective in “summarizing a professional background”. My objective is to get a better understanding whether my proposed methodology is practical and effective. however.7% of the respondents strongly agree. and how a professional website works with a skills based approach. For example. “references” (2.28). I chose Human Resource professionals because of their close proximity to employment evaluations and their interpersonal interactions with employees (the study could be expanded to include professionals in education and psychology as well). All of these approaches suggest being proactive to learn and develop your skills. Validating a skill is a difficult thing to measure across different services and industries. including: effectiveness of a skill set as a summary of a professional background. The respondents think a sample of work (1.77).83) is the best indicator of your level of expertise of a skill – they want to take an unbiased evaluation of something you have created. And 49.12). whether or not it is in line with your competencies. volunteering and taking a class also had high rankings. Most of the respondents (68.90%) have searched on a skill set and the largest segment (47. Taking these two stats to together. what are ways to learn and build an expertise with a skill. and “certificate from a third-party” (3. a certificate is a very common way to evaluate a professional’s experience in a technology or application. and can be facilitated with the use of a professional website. a sample of your work is much more relevant. although 21. This indicates there is familiarity with a skill set among human resource professionals.2% of the respondents reported it as very effective. what is a good assessment for a level of expertise of a skill. Here are some of the summary statistics: There is a very strong response that you can learn a skill if you “work on developing it and am determined to learn it properly”. best ways to plan the development of a skill set.

Survey: Skills Based Approach Published 12/14/2012 by TheProfessionalWebsite Copyright 2012 TheProfessionalWebsite Page 2 .

7% of the respondents are over 30 years old and the largest segment (41.       119 Human Resource professionals. all from the United States 82. 60.9% of the respondents are women 65.4% have a college degree Over 20 different industries and services are represented There were 9 respondents who did not report their demographic information Copyright 2012 TheProfessionalWebsite Page 3 .Survey: Skills Based Approach Published 12/14/2012 by TheProfessionalWebsite Here is some information about my sample.8%) is between 45 and 60.

Copyright 2012 TheProfessionalWebsite Page 4 . This means there is utility in creating a plan to acquire skills to reach you career aspirations. and if a skill set is an effective way to summarize a professional background.52% of the respondents thought a skill set is ineffective in representing a professional background.42 out of 5. common procedure. only 2. The results of the survey indicate skill sets are a standardized way to summarize professional backgrounds across most services and industries. According to survey. and MonsterJobs has a sophisticated search engine to retrieve online resumes based on a skill set. Almost all of the respondents think a skill set is an effective way to summarize a professional background – the average ranking was 3.Survey: Skills Based Approach Published 12/14/2012 by TheProfessionalWebsite Use of a Skill Set Using skill sets is becoming more common in employment web services: LinkedIn has a search engine where recruiters can target skill sets and an interface where users’ connections can endorse their skills. planning your skill set is the first step in a skills based approach.91%) have searched for candidates based on a skill set. One of the objectives of the survey is to understand whether searching on a skill set is a standardized. most of the respondents (68.

and inner motivations – when planning their future. one in three adults claim to have actually achieved their childhood “dream” job. Don’t be discouraged if you need to learn a skill and it is challenging to you.58% of the respondents disagree that you “should only develop skills based on your strengths”. A clear majority of the respondents “strongly agree” that you can learn a skill “if you work on developing it and am determined to learn it properly”.5% greater productivity. moreover. you plan concrete ways to learn each skill in the skill set – such as taking a course or accepting a project at work. 49. A professional website has functionality to support the planning stage of developing your skill set. thought out plan to acquire the necessary skill set. and inner motivations (passions) and then leverage them in selecting a career path and related skill set. according to the Gallup website. one objective is to understand how much weight a professional should put on each influence – strengths. You can improve your chances of landing your “dream job” by creating a well. you identify your strengths. teams that focus on strengths every day have 12. personality traits. personality traits. 1 http://linkedin.com/Content/Detail.Survey: Skills Based Approach Published 12/14/2012 by TheProfessionalWebsite Planning Stage According to a recent LinkedIn study1.presscentre. The survey did not address the advantages in planning your career based on an evaluation of your strengths. In the survey. work hard and do your best to learn it properly. Second. First. there are a few advantages in utilizing your strengths: people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job.aspx?ReleaseID=150&NewsAreaID=2&ClientID=1 Copyright 2012 TheProfessionalWebsite Page 5 . The planning stage in developing your skill set is a two-step process. Although.

and inner motivations should influence your career decisions. I was expecting the opposite. find out your competencies and how you work.54%) – “somewhat agree” that you should “pursue a career and develop skills based on the results of a personality test”. This indicates that you should consider taking a personality test and evaluate the results as you plan out your career. As the results of the survey unfolded. but I figure you should build your career around your core-competencies. the most important characteristic of a dream job is “taking pleasure in your work”. however. is to follow your inner-motivations when you plan out your career. The clear message from the survey.Survey: Skills Based Approach Published 12/14/2012 by TheProfessionalWebsite Many of the respondents – the largest segment (44. and then find careers that follow these results and consider your inner motivations as you narrow down the list. Maybe this is my over-analytical mind spinning. personality traits. according to the same LinkedIn study. Copyright 2012 TheProfessionalWebsite Page 6 . I was surprised by the response of a significant majority regarding how strengths. My opinion is that you should take a strengths and personality test.

reading a book. you should consider seeking a job that can build your desired skills and perhaps your only objective is to learn skills so the job is a “stepping stone” to a more long term job in the future. First. this is what I call the building stage in a skills based approach. learn. Second. I posed a question regarding the effectiveness of learning a skill with various methods: taking a class. In the survey. Taking on a project at work is by far the best way to build a skill according to the survey. Copyright 2012 TheProfessionalWebsite Page 7 . My objective is to understand the best ways to learn a skill.18% reported it as “very effective”. if you are currently looking for employment. This has two implications. in fact. if you are already employed. so a professional can properly plan. you may want to be assertive and take a role on a project that can help you build your desired skills.Survey: Skills Based Approach Published 12/14/2012 by TheProfessionalWebsite How to Learn Skills There are many ways to learn and build an expertise with skills in your skill set. only one respondent reported it ineffective and 87. and taking on a project at work. joining an organization. and build an expertise with a desired skill set. volunteering.

and you usually have to pay for classes. The effectiveness of taking a class and volunteering also elicited a strong favorable response. Copyright 2012 TheProfessionalWebsite Page 8 . I strongly suggest seeking out a mentor to help build your skill set. An advantage with these methods is that they can often be addressed with few prerequisites. this is a very powerful way to learn skills. I also think about the famous series of books. only a few respondents thought taking a class or volunteering were ineffective (1. “… For Dummies”. which has become a staple for learning a skill with no prior experience.Survey: Skills Based Approach Published 12/14/2012 by TheProfessionalWebsite talk to your supervisors and tell them why you want to make a presentation or be the lead developer on a project. I had an excellent mentor in my second job. and the things I learned from him have had a lasting impact throughout my career.71% and 5. Personally. for example. you do not have to get hired for a job or be accepted to take on a project. I can think of many times where I have used a book to learn a new skill – especially learning a new programming language or technology. drawing from my own experiences. Most of the respondents thought joining an organization or reading a book are “somewhat effective”. Thankfully some of the respondents pointed out that I missed a very important way to build an expertise with a skill: finding a mentor. Although the disadvantages are both require a commitment of time outside of your paying job.08% respectively). And.

finance. evaluating a sample of work is completely unbiased. with a professional website. According to the survey. First. and accounting. Many respondents (21%) ranked “certificate from a third-party” first or second. years of experience with a skill is another commonly used indicator. there is no circumstantial evaluation by a reference or professor. I realized that the use of certifications is concentrated in certain areas: IT. after going through the results of the survey.Survey: Skills Based Approach Published 12/14/2012 by TheProfessionalWebsite Verifying Skills During every employment evaluation. And there are many more examples. Copyright 2012 TheProfessionalWebsite Page 9 . However. the highest ranked way to validate a skill is through a sample of work (1. However. the last step is to find ways to validate your skills and then present them. and a financial analyst can share a catalogue of papers they wrote. a potential employer has to verify your skills based on what you report on your resume. an artist or graphic designer can share a portfolio of their work. Second. or a portfolio. Before the survey. but most respondents ranked it low. The most common probe is through references by asking them about their experiences with you.81) and this not surprising for a couple of reasons. It is possible to review a sample of work and draw your own conclusions. With a skills based approach. samples of work add dimensions to an employment evaluation not available with a standard resume. it is much easier to share samples of your work – coursework. I thought this would be the highest ranked method of verifying a skill set. In addition. almost every type of professional career creates some type of work sample. This explains why some respondents ranked it high. I can think of a few examples: a linguist can share a video while they are conversing. publications.

I asked whether “years of experience” or “application of a skill” is a better indication of someone’s level of expertise of a skill. Most of the respondents (70. though a few respondents (16.94%) favored the “application of skill” over “years of experience”.24%) “strongly favor” years of experience. Copyright 2012 TheProfessionalWebsite Page 10 .Survey: Skills Based Approach Published 12/14/2012 by TheProfessionalWebsite In one question on the survey.

the four steps are: planning. Through the GroupShare communications platform. In open ended responses. Skills are integrated into the fabric of a professional website. I created the Skills Based Approach method. The survey confirmed that skill sets are an effective way to summarize a background. Once you have acquired some expertise with a skill. This suggests that someone can counsel you with concrete steps to build expertise with a skill set. I recognized the necessity of including skill sets into the framework of a professional website. respondents mentioned finding a mentor is also an effective way to develop an expertise with a skill (and it clearly should have been included on the survey). For example. Other ways to learn a skill include joining an organization and reading a book.Survey: Skills Based Approach Published 12/14/2012 by TheProfessionalWebsite A Professional Website In the early stages of development. the best way to build an expertise with a skill is to take on a project at work followed by taking a class and volunteering. According to the survey. here is a hypothetical plan someone could have suggested to me to become a free-lance web developer (using Counsel Review in GroupShare with a professional website).91%) have searched on a skill set and think a skill set is an effective way to summarize a professional background. a professional can reach out to support channels and get counseling on what skills they will need for their career path and how to learn and gain an expertise with a desired skill set. presenting. The main objective of the survey is to understand the effectiveness of this method and how a professional website can be used to facilitate its application. Most of the respondents (68. and validating. Copyright 2012 TheProfessionalWebsite Page 11 . which is a four step process to develop a skill set. building. you can present them by linking them to your professional experiences – employment.

where you plan. present. or licenses. you can use a professional website to present the most common ways to validate a skill: a sample of work. you can upload a paper you wrote in an economics class. awards. a professional website has the functionality to present a certificate and there are plans to incorporate a verifying mechanism. As you validate your expertise with skills (the validation stage of a skill based approach). there is a field that captures “years of experience” and when you “last used the skill”. and validate a skill set throughout your career. accounting. almost every job application requires you to share a list of references. years of experience. Currently. A professional website is built to support a skill based approach. A problem with the current approach is it does not provide context that can be used in a conversation. license. Using references might be the most common way to validate skills. This method of verifying a skill ranked last in the survey. For example. there is a separate section dedicated for presenting content regarding certifications. it is possible to link your references to particular professional experiences in the same way you link skills to professional experiences. and interests. First.Survey: Skills Based Approach Published 12/14/2012 by TheProfessionalWebsite educational. it is possible to plan the development of a skill set. sharing a sample of work was by far the highest ranked way of validating a skill. use of references. These factors appear when someone searches on the skill from your professional website. you can upload a file that relates to a specific experience. Anyone reviewing your website can view your skills by reviewing the related section on your website. or searching on them from a search page. With a professional website. It is clear precisely what experiences and skills a reference is expected to verify. we call the presentation and verification of a certificate a badge. build. and certificate. or award from a third-party. When you add skills to your professional website. in the education section. Second. Copyright 2012 TheProfessionalWebsite Page 12 . and finance. The survey results confirm: a skill set is an effective way to summarize a professional background. According the survey. though 21% of the respondents ranked it first or second which indicates it is more relevant for particular industry/service types like IT. and there are certain ways to present and validate a skill. There are two ways to share a sample of work. you can share a “body of work” as a standalone section – here you can provide many samples of work. With a professional website.

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