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Competency kit


Competency kit image (water bottle)Competencies are the knowledge, skills and attributes you can develop in every aspect of your life. As more and more supervisors focus on competencies in the hiring process, successful candidates will be those who can communicate their competencies in their résumés and at interviews.

Not sure where to start? Check out the roadmap to the competency kit.


Understanding competencies

What are
competencies?

“Competencies” are the knowledge, skills and attributes that you use at work, school, and in other environments. They can involve expertise that you already have but don’t know how to describe.

Let’s say you’re an expert with your smart phone and use it to keep track of appointments, social activities and academic work. This everyday activity has probably helped you develop a competency in communication and organization—not bad!

How are competencies described?

How are competencies described?

Competencies are described in ways that are:

  • Observable
  • Measurable
  • Linked to the workplace, academic environment and other life experiences
  • Transferable
  • Based on performance

What makes up a competency?

What makes up a competency?

A competency is made up of the following three elements: skill, knowledge and attribute.

A skill is about doing something well – your ability to choose and perform the right technique at the right time. It’s usually developed through training and practice. For example, you could become a skilled writer by practicing writing in a particular style. You can become skilled at being safe in the workplace by practicing techniques during classroom exercises or labs.

Knowledge is the information that you know, including theories, facts and procedures, and the ability to apply this information in different situations. For example, you could have knowledge about different communication styles.  You may know the key steps to plan a program or project and be well versed in strategies for evaluating success. Putting these together takes knowledge.

An attribute is an inherent characteristic or quality and is often expressed through what you think, do and feel. For example, you could be known for staying positive and calm in challenging situations. You may also bring a 'can-do' attitude to your work - able to try new things, ask for new assignments and demonstrate initiative.

Together, these three elements make up a competency. For example, you could develop competency regarding communication by practicing your writing and listening skills, acquiring knowledge about different communication styles and learning techniques that help you keep calm under pressure. Or you might develop competency around workplace safety by taking a natural attribute like attention to detail, and using it to practice safe work techniques (skill development) and then researching new and different methods (gaining knowledge) that can be implemented to increase safety.

ACTIVITY:

Why use
competencies?

Most employers are assessing potential and existing employees based on their competencies rather than on skills alone.

If you can describe your competencies, you’ll have an advantage as you apply for a wide range of opportunities. You can describe your competencies in your applications, résumés and cover letters and talk about them during your interviews. You can use your competencies to further develop your knowledge and understand how your school, work and other experiences align.

ACTIVITY:

Where to develop
competencies

  • Formal education (university, college or continuing studies)
  • Work experience (paid employment, contracts, volunteer work, co-op work terms, internships and more)
  • Training (workshops, seminars, certificate course, professional traning and more)
  • Life experiences (travel, recreational activities, interests, hobbies, community involvement, family commitments and more)

ACTIVITY:

Assess and express
your competencies

You can assess your competencies before, during and after your work and life experiences.

ACTIVITIES:

Want help? Contact a career educator or speak with your co-op coordinator.

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