Your Talents- What are you good at?

The first step in finding your light is to know yourself.  The three pieces of knowing yourself involve discovering your talents, passions and values. We’ll start first with identifying your talents.    There are many ways to define and identify talents, but for the purpose of career exploration and development, I think they best way to identify your talents is to define them in the way that employers do.   After all, the whole point of knowing yourself is so that you can be able to find a career that you enjoy doing so that your light can shine.

KSAOs- Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other traits- are how most employers define what the need when they go to hire an employee.   Here’s a run down of what these four things actually are:

Knowledge- “Degree to which employees have mastered a technical body of material directly involved in the performance of a job.”

Example of knowledge that a high school student might have:

English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Skill- “The capacity to perform tasks requiring the use of tools, equipment and machinery.”

Example of a skill that a high school student might have:

Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Ability- “The capacity to carry out physical and mental acts required by a job’s tasks where the involvement of tools, equipment and machinery is not the dominate factor.”

Example of an ability a high school student might have:

Memorization — The ability to remember information such as words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.

Other- “Interests, values, temperaments, and personality attributes that suggest what an employee is likely to do rather than how well an employee can do at peak performance.”

We’ll talk more about the “other” characteristics later when we explore work and life values as well as passions.  But some examples of other characteristics employers would want could want and is developed in high school and throughout life would be conscientiousness.

The neat thing about all of these KSAOs is that they are linked by importance and level to job titles through O*Net.   You can use this tool to explore a whole list of different KSAOS and then see which job titles come up most frequently for you.

Here is a worksheet- Find Your Point- with a list of KSAOs (as well as other things we’ll be discussion in the weeks to come) Each KSAO listed links to O*Net.  Just click them! You can do here this here too with “English Language”, “Critical Thinking” and “Memorization”.

Some simple questions to ask yourself to identify your talents:

  1. What types of things do people ask me to help them with?  Fixing their car, giving a speech, tutoring them in math or English or biology?  What are you the go to person for?
  2. Where are you picked first?  The baseball team, the drama club, the school newspaper, the organizer of the volunteer effort?

Next week, I’ll describe how this actually works with a real student I have worked with.  Stay tuned!

KSAO Definitions taken from: Job and Work Analysis, Brannick, Levine, and Morgeson

Mary Ila Ward

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