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πŸ““ Identifying Important Skills


Now that you have learned more about the kinds of jobs you are interested in, it’s time to start planning your professional development. At this point, your professional development plan involves discovering what you are interested in doing, knowing what skills you already possess, and learning what skills you will need to develop over time. Whether you’re making a career change or just starting out professionally, it can be daunting to figure out how to get from where you are right now to where you want to be in five years– or even just in six months. We will help you break this process down into manageable steps and create an action plan to achieve your career goals. The first step is to identify what skills will be important along the way.

Identifying Important Skills​

Step One - Gather Job Information​

First, compile several job posts. Look for a good sample that represents the kind of work you want to do in the future, and don’t limit yourself by what you feel like you can do right now. You’re not going to apply for these jobs, you’re just using them for research. To start out, try finding five job posts for steps two and three.

Step Two - Look for Commonalities​

You have a few different options for this next step. You can look through each job description by hand and note down what soft skills, languages, frameworks, tools, and qualities you see in each, looking for ones that show up multiple times.

You can also feed these job descriptions into a Word Cloud generator, which will visually emphasize the most common words and phrases. For best results, select only the desired skills and edit them to remove irrelevant phrases such as β€œexperience with”, β€œexposure to”, β€œan appreciation for”. Remove any connecting words like β€œand”, or β€œwith”. You can also exclude degree and years of experience requirements. Your end result should look something like this:

An example Wordcloud featuring job keywords

A third option is to use a tool like ChatGPT to pull key skills from each description. Prompt ChatGPT to identify the key skills in each job post, and analyze which ones show up more than once. Here’s an example prompt: β€œOut of these 3 job descriptions, identify the key skills in each post and analyze which key skills show up more than once.”

ChatGPT will provide a response that includes the key skills it identified, and a shorter list of skills that show up multiple times. However, ChatGPT is not always accurate, so you may want to double check the accuracy in case there are any errors in your prompt or in scanning the job posts.

Step Three - Compare Your Current Skills to the Generated List​

How do your current soft skills and technical skills compare to the list you created? How will your skills compare after you finish Epicodus? Note any gaps that you will need to fill and save this list for later. You will be using it in the next lesson on identifying strengths and weaknesses.

Career Review​

As a part of your first career review, you’ll save the word cloud or skills list you generated in this lesson in the same Google Doc you used for your SMART Goals and Career Exploration activities. You will submit this career review on Epicenter under the Internships class.