Cornell University

Determine Skills

Skills come from a variety of work, academic, and life experiences. You will need to evaluate the skills you currently possess or want to develop.

Skills generally fall into three categories:

  • Work-content skills demonstrate your ability to perform a specific type of job. These are skills that you have gained from your academic courses or work experience, such as psychological research, accounting, engine design, human resource management, speaking a foreign language, or writing for newspapers.
  • Functional skills are applicable across careers and academic preparation, enabling you to relate to people, data, things, and/or ideas in many different settings. These include problem solving, analyzing, selling, team building, conceptualizing, and managing.
  • Self-management skills are related to the style or manner in which you work. These include abilities such as coping with deadlines, working under pressure, paying attention to detail, and personal traits such as patience, reliability, risk-taking, resourcefulness, and innovation.