Assess Your Marketable Skills

Which of your Skills are Valued in the Marketplace

Getting a job is a research and selling process. If you don’t know what you’re selling or who you want to sell it to you are unlikely to make a satisfying sale. It is very important to make sure you have done a market valued assessment of your skills and experiences and set reasonable job goals before you start the process. If you do not do so you are likely to flounder and extend the time to finding the next right job.


Skills are abilities that make it possible to perform tasks. Marketable skills are abilities that are in demand in the job market because they are useful for tasks that are valuable in the marketplace.

Marketable skills are always changing with the changes in demand in the job market. Everyone has skills but there is a difference between a skill and a marketable skill. Determining your marketable skills is an important first step in your job cycle. The difficulty lies in that candidates sometimes fail to recognize that portions of the work a have done has little market value.

For example, a software developer who has been laid off and has worked the last 15 years programming in an outdated software language possesses skills. However, because he has worked with a language that is rarely used today, the programmer will need some additional training to acquire the marketable software skills necessary in today’s marketplace. Employers are always more likely to hire candidates that have marketable skills than those that do not. Unfortunately, many people are not sure about the skills they possess and miss opportunities to display these abilities during job interviews. Others may choose jobs or are stuck in jobs that don’t allow them to improve their marketable skills.

What skills do employers want? The better question is to ask is what tasks are valued in today’s marketplace and what skills are necessary to perform them?


The U.S. Secretary of Labor and the Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) identified foundation skills and basic workplace competencies that are critical for employment in the twenty-first century. These skills include:

Basic Skills – Reading, writing, arithmetic, mathematics, speaking, listening

Thinking Skills – Abilities to learn, reason, think creatively, make decisions, solve problems

Personal Qualities – Individual responsibility, verbal and written skills, self-esteem, self-management, integrity

Resourcing Skills – Allocate time, money, materials, space, and staff.

Interpersonal Skills – Participate in teams, teach others, serve customers, lead, negotiate, and work well with people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Information Skills – Acquire and evaluate data, organize and maintain files, interpret and communicate, and use computers to process information.

Systems Skills – Understand social, organizational, and technological systems; monitor and correct performance; and design or improve systems.

Technology Skills – Select equipment and tools; maintain and troubleshoot equipment; and apply technology to specific tasks.

Transferable Skills – are basic skills that transfer from one job to another. These include the communication and interpersonal skills of managing, organizing, coordinating, and writing.

Adaptive Skills – are personal characteristics that develop through life experiences. Although these skills are not specific to jobs or careers, they are extremely important to employers and are, therefore, very marketable. Examples are flexibility, leadership, patience, responsibility, maturity, decisiveness, commitment, and enthusiasm.

Job Related Skills – are associated with specific occupations or jobs. Every occupation requires a set of crucial skills that all workers must have to complete the work. Which of these skills are needed to perform market value tasks in your occupation of choice?

The job related skills are the skills that you will display on your resume and are the ones that are most often discussed during an interview. All the other skills are valuable but are subtly evaluated by interviewers and often not addressed directly.


Job Related Skills – are associated with specific occupations or jobs. Every occupation requires a set of crucial skills that all workers must have to complete the work. Which of these skills are needed to perform market value tasks in your occupation of choice?

The process involves looking back at your experiences to determine skills you have developed throughout your career and then determine which of these skills help you perform market value tasks.


Start with a clean copy of your resume and highlight all of the market value tasks that appear on your resume. We will then work backwards from a list of market value tasks to the list of skills that help you perform these tasks. A well-written resume is one that has clearly identified these market value tasks and enumerated the skills that allow you to perform these tasks at a high level. One of the outcomes of a good market valued assessment is that you can create a very strong resume. The other is that you pursue jobs and career directions that will allow you to leverage your market valued skills to obtaining more market valued skills.

An example of the highlighting of market valued tasks for a software developer and developing a list of skills is noted below.

Need help in determine your marketable skills. We provide an Market Oriented Assessment session for $ 100. Our initial assessment meeting will help you identify and list your marketable skills which you will use to set reasonable objectives. Certainly you can do a self-assessment on your own but with just a little help from an experienced market professional you can do a better job.

Our job cycle assessment session includes a discussion about the market value tasks that you’ve indicated on your resume and their associated skills. You start by sending us a copy of your current resume as well as some idea of your expectations (job title, compensation, location, travel etc.). We ask you to mark up your resume as we will mark up a copy too. During our session we discussed your accomplishments, your market value tasks and the associated skills.

From this list of skills you will create your job objectives. From the table that you created identify the market valued skills that you have enjoyed and then consider jobs that require the skills. You can search the web for jobs based on the skills to get an idea of the kinds of jobs you should pursue. While searching the web do not limit yourself by location as you are doing this research just to get idea of jobs and not necessarily pursue them. Now create your job objectives as clearly defined statements. Use these job objectives to identify the jobs you want to pursue.

Some valuable websites for further research:


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