How well do you know yourself? Really know yourself?

Be honest.

Can you look at yourself and your skills and say that you don’t need any improvement? If so, then congratulations, I wish I could join you but I can’t. For me, improvement is an ongoing event, my skills are here and I want them to be there.

But I can’t get there if I don’t know where I am.

I need a skills gap analysis to show me where I stand in my career and where I need to improve. A gap analysis reveals any shortcomings in simple terms.

Use these five easy steps to open your eyes to any gaps in your skills:

  • Identify Future State – where you want to be
  • Identify Current State – where you are now
  • Measure the Gap – identify causes of the gap
  • Create an Action Plan – identify how to bridge the gap
  • Implement and Follow Up – put your plan in place and, later, re-perform your gap analysis

A self-assessment of your skills gap is effective because it provides immediate feedback and a starting point for upgrading skills. Think about whether you have the knowledge, skills and ability to perform the duties described in your job description.

It’s a bit more challenging to identify soft skills gaps than it is ‘hard’ skills gaps. It’s easy to tell if you don’t know how to use a piece of software, it’s harder to tell if you are good at stress reduction. You also need to consider how to measure different forms of learning when developing a gap analysis tool. How do you weigh the value of experiential learning as compared to a certification?

With a skills gap analysis, you are on your way to becoming a further contributor and advancing within your organization. With this information you can create a summary of any competencies you need to upgrade and develop a plan of action to move ahead.

There are as many self-assessment tools as there are professions, each specific to their own. These are a guide to get you started developing your own and moving forward in your training and profession. Good luck.