Capabilities – Inside Information, Examples, Q&A

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Insider Advice – Describing Your Capabilities

If I’m changing careers, how can I best describe my capabilities?

Rather than thinking about tasks you’ve performed in the past, think about tasks you can perform in the future, based on your skills and abilities. First, analyze the requirements of your new career. Based on applicable job descriptions, what capabilities are needed? The ability to communicate effectively in writing? The ability to organize people or materials? The ability to solve problems?

For each of these requirements, review your employment and personal history for the skills and abilities you have used in the past to perform similar tasks. For instance, if your job target requires interacting with and answering customer complaints, have you ever performed any type of customer service activities in the past? Describe the specific abilities you possess, based on similar tasks you have performed in previous roles.

As a recent graduate, how can I best describe my capabilities?

Review the classes and projects you have completed and the experience you have gained on various full or part-time jobs, and volunteer or student activities. Then, consider the tasks you have performed that utilized your skills and abilities. Have you written reports? Organized people or materials? Sold tickets or candy door-to-door? There are many tasks you have performed in school that can be translated into real-world experience.

Once you have isolated these tasks, describe them in terms relevant to your target job. For example, instead of saying “Wrote a report for Classical Literature class,” you could say “Researched and wrote a 25 page report analyzing the similarities and differences between two styles of classical writing.” The ability to research, analyze and write are capabilities that interest many employeers.

Should I include capabilities that are unrelated to my target job?

You should add to your resume only those things that will make you more attractive as a candidate for the job. If you have capabilities that are not required for the position, you should consider leaving these statements off of your resume.

Do employers prefer reading abilities as a paragraph or as a bulleted list?

Employers generally prefer a bulleted list. Bulleted lists are easier to read and make it easier to identify important capabilities.

Examples – Describing Your Capabilities

KEY STRENGTHS TECHNICAL EXPERTISE

  • Software Architecture
  • Database Design
  • Project Management
  • Software Deployment
  • Object Oriented Design
  • Quality Assurance Monitoring
  • Help Desk Implementation/Development


LEADERSHIP/BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

  • Business/Project Strategy & Direction
  • Quality & Performance Management
  • Crisis & Risk Management
  • Team Development/Motivation
  • Recruitment/Deployment
  • Policy Design/Development
  • Client Relationship Management

CAPABILITIES

  • Enhancing organizational efficiencies and operations using technical and interpersonal skills.
  • Performing data entry, report preparation, and organizational tasks.
  • Composing business correspondence and preparing statistical spreadsheet analysis.
  • Coordinating materials for review with management and implementing needed procedures.
  • Well-developed communication skills demonstrated through extensive customer service.
  • Knowledgeable in computer operations, applications and operating systems.
  • Recognized for outstanding job performance, reliability, multi-task skills, efficiency, accuracy, speed, and timely completion of all assignments.

QUALIFICATIONS SUMMARY

Proven capability to develop client relationships from initial contact to final contract negotiation. Experience in account management, working for Fortune 100 companies. Experience in planning trade shows and sales training workshops.

Capabilities include:

  • Sales/Marketing Communications
  • Consultative Sales
  • Account/Contract Negotiations
  • Sales Presentations
  • Client Development/Management
  • Brand Management/Corporate Identity
  • Strategic Forecast Planning
  • Client Needs Assessment
  • Team Skills Building/Leadership
  • New Business Development
  • Account/Client Retention
  • Operating/Financial/Risk Management

Questions & Answers - Describing Your Capabilities

If I’m changing careers, how can I best describe my capabilities?

Rather than thinking about tasks you’ve performed in the past, think about tasks you can perform in the future, based on your skills and abilities. First, analyze the requirements of your new career. Based on applicable job descriptions, what capabilities are needed? The ability to communicate effectively in writing? The ability to organize people or materials? The ability to solve problems?

For each of these requirements, review your employment and personal history for the skills and abilities you have used in the past to perform similar tasks. For instance, if your job target requires interacting with and answering customer complaints, have you ever performed any type of customer service activities in the past? Describe the specific abilities you possess, based on similar tasks you have performed in previous roles.

As a recent graduate, how can I best describe my capabilities?

Review the classes and projects you have completed and the experience you have gained on various full or part-time jobs, and volunteer or student activities. Then, consider the tasks you have performed that utilized your skills and abilities. Have you written reports? Organized people or materials? Sold tickets or candy door-to-door? There are many tasks you have performed in school that can be translated into real-world experience.

Once you have isolated these tasks, describe them in terms relevant to your target job. For example, instead of saying “Wrote a report for Classical Literature class,” you could say “Researched and wrote a 25 page report analyzing the similarities and differences between two styles of classical writing.” The ability to research, analyze and write are capabilities that interest many employeers.

Should I include capabilities that are unrelated to my target job?

You should add to your resume only those things that will make you more attractive as a candidate for the job. If you have capabilities that are not required for the position, you should consider leaving these statements off of your resume.

Do employers prefer reading abilities as a paragraph or as a bulleted list?

Employers generally prefer a bulleted list. Bulleted lists are easier to read and make it easier to identify important capabilities.

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