Spotlight on Your Skill Inventory

Career Blog

Published: April 30, 2021 by Jillian Collins

Scott Brown, SJSU instructor, is a name you may remember from my earlier post about Skills Inventory; I had the opportunity to interview Scott, and part of our conversation will show you – and definitely showed me – that the best way to see skills in action is by taking action.

Skills that Set the Stage

How would you understand someone who introduces themselves as “detailed,” or  “team oriented, comfortable working independently?” That doesn’t say much about the person. When you dig deeper, you open yourself to a conversation and welcome opportunities. This is part of the success Scott has seen when students understand their capacity in their accomplishments – and acknowledge them.

The Skill Inventory Experience

On the topic of the skill inventory, Scott sees it as both a way to see how much you’ve done (metrics), and, more importantly, a way to encourage a focus on evidence of how much you’ve accomplished.

Scott said that benefits of metrics go beyond numbers: “the ability [to] quantify [your experiences] for yourself and for your career” also enables you to answer the question “[W]hat is the scope of what I’ve done and what’s the impact?” With that in mind, you should consider the following:

  • Evidence. Scott’s emphasis on metrics – how significant contributions in numbers have power – is a sense of proof: “this is the impact of what I did. This is actually the difference that it made… here are the strengths that this [role] indicates [what] I bring to the table.”
  • Reference. When you take metrics and put it in any step in your career kit, it gets you noticed. When people see a quantity, they know you are quality. Scott underscored that your awareness is part of confidence: “[metrics reflect] ‘this was the outcome of my work or this is the impact of my work [in] volunteer work, paid work, whatever that might be‘. And for people [like] recruiters [and] people looking to hire, [they want] to see that kind of perspective…it makes you stand out.”
  • Translating transferable skills. Perhaps the biggest part of seeing all of your skills is the ways you can use them anywhere! An advantage that Scott sees through the skill inventory is “the concept of transferable skills…the process of doing inventory…really is rediscovering that the experience that we’ve had [shows] a better understanding of how those skills might apply going forward, but potentially in different settings or different combinations.”

I asked him what the main misconception of the skill inventory is. When the topic usually comes up, Scott said it’s not so much a mistake in directions – remember, this exercise is for you, by you, based on a true story – it’s just how we usually think of listing out our prior experience…the résumé, redux.

Scott’s take? Adding metrics related to the results of something you’ve done, i.e., quantifying your prior experiences, helps create the mindset you need to see the bigger picture, to see beyond simply what you’ve done, to the success your actions brought to the organization.

Mentoring Others and the Impact of Saying Yes

My misconception about the skill inventory was that it was just another tool in my career kit. But, when I was talking to Scott, he brought up two amazing points that really stood out to me.

When we hear the word “mentor,” we tend to think it doesn’t apply to us as students. A mentor usually indicates, to me anyway, someone who has more experience in life and has all the answers to the questions I have. But, the point of mentorship is to teach others, or impart knowledge you may have that others may need.

You should consider yourself a mentor. Scott pointed out, “We all have something that we can teach or mentor somebody about.” In addition, he shared some really solid (and simple) advice on a benefit we may not be considering when we mentor: “being open to talking with people…is one of those things where you can be that mentor to somebody else. And that is a part of [the] broad scope of networking that I think really helps build your own professional persona and your career.”

Which brings me to the impact of saying yes. Know that, when approached by someone for help, they already had you in mind. Sure, we hesitate. We doubt. But that impact you have proved before is why people believe you can help them, or as Scott put it: “they would not ask, if they didn’t think you could do it.”

Keep that in mind, as you continue to apply your skill inventory to real life career opportunities. The cross section of a skill, and a solution, has been proven by you before. And that is both what carries you forward and what creates the benefit for you and others.

Wait, There’s More!

Stay tuned for the next part, because Scott goes above and beyond about how others see your presence of positive traits via a Personal Brand Assessment.

Career Opportunities

  • Archivist. Apple, Inc. (Corporate). Cupertino, CA. Apply directly via Jobs at Apple
  • Storyteller/Writer. (Business Development & Sales Department). Deloitte. Flexible locations in United States. Apply and learn more on Deloitte Careers

Mark Your Calendar!

SAASC Happy Hour: Ask Anything!  Hosted by SAASC

  • Date: Tuesday, May 18, 2021
  • Time: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Pacific Time)
  • Location: Register here to attend this Zoom event

Career Workshop with Kim Dority: How to Build Your Professional Network (Without Feeling Weird About It)

  • Date: Wednesday, May 19, 2021
  • Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (Pacific Time)
  • Location: Zoom; check the event page for upcoming information to register for this event


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