Recognize Your Skills and Talents – and Use Them!
Do you know yet what you want to do with the rest of your life? If you have a talent for singing or playing an instrument, you might want to be a professional musician. Maybe you love to work with your hands and want to become a mechanic or a carpenter. Whatever you want to do, it’s never too early to start working on your skills and talents. You can enjoy what you’re doing now and also prepare for the future.
Everyone has some kind of talent, but it needs to be developed to be useful. If you have a talent for working with your hands, you’ll still need to learn building and repair skills. Even if you have a talent in music or art, you’ll need to develop it. You’ll have to learn skills like teamwork, leadership, and commitment so that you can work well with others. Your skills can help you turn the things you love to do into a job that can support your lifestyle.
Skills fall into two main categories: hard or soft skills. Soft skills can usually be transferred from one type of job to another, and they include personal skills like the ability to listen to others or to get along with people at work or school. Communication skills, a strong commitment to the job, and self-confidence are other important soft skills that can help you work well.
Hard skills are more likely than soft skills to lead directly to a job. Knowing how to design a bridge that doesn’t fall down will help you get a job as an engineer and knowing how to use machinery will help with finding work in construction or mining. For some jobs, having these hard skills is the best way to find work.
Almost every job is a combination of hard and soft skills. Even if you get a job as a welder, you’ll need interpersonal and problem-solving skills to be able to work with other people and to deal with equipment failures or sudden increases in the workload. If you get work at a television station, you might need to have many different hard and soft skills to use the equipment and maybe edit the stories.
Career-related training programs are often the best places to learn hard skills, but you can work on your soft skills anywhere. Developing your ability to work with others or to complete assignments on time, for example, will always be useful no matter what career you choose.
How you learn these skills depends on your talents and interests. You could develop your artistic and leadership skills by volunteering to lead art sessions at a summer camp. You could develop your ability to work with others by being part of a sports team or develop your ability to listen by volunteering at a seniors’ home. You can also improve your management skills by organizing a sports event, art show, or concert, even if only your family attends the event.
Whatever you decide to do in the future, you can already start developing your skills and talents now.