Career advancement or a successful career change are the two most important outcomes of professional development. To get to that point in a competitive environment, one needs to know how to increase her or his competitive standing in a skill based job selection process. One way of doing it, as discussed in length in previous lectures, is to master individual skills management. In the remaining lectures, we will demonstrate how you can put skills management to work and accomplish immediate tangible outcomes. The three tangible outcomes of individual skills management include: An improved ability to objectively evaluate, quantify, and monitor your current skillset. An enhanced capacity to communicate the real value of your skillset to potential employers. An increased capacity to set and accomplish concrete, effective, skill-building goals. All tangible outcomes are linked to typical scenarios of professional development as presented in the skills management matrix. Scenario one, job excellence. Scenario two, job enhancement. Scenario three, job diversification. Scenario four, career change. Scenario one is the most logical starting point, where we will review the existing skillset that you're using in your current job. Then, we will move to scenario two, where we will see how you can improve your standing in your current job or in a competition for a similar job, either by adding more skills in the same vocational field or a new generic skill. After that, we will analyze scenario three, and investigate how you can increase your employability by adding a new skill in a totally different vocational area. We hope that after that you'll be sufficiently prepared to take on scenario four on your own. You may ask, why is it that we are starting with your existing skillset for your current job? Isn't this the job that you have already gotten, learned about and probably mastered very well? Wouldn't it be more logical and interesting to immediately proceed to planning for a shiny new job? The answer is that it is much easier to define and quantify your skillset in an area that is familiar to you, and where you are likely to know how to assess your skills. You are also more likely to have access to expert and peer evaluators; your supervisor and coworkers who can observe and objectively evaluate your existing skillset and validate the scores. As a result, you will be able to calibrate the scales. You will also build confidence in your ability to organize, quantify, and monitor skills. This is a valuable skill in itself, don't you think? An improved ability to objectively evaluate and monitor your current skillset is indeed a significant tangible outcome of individual skills management. It's like having a map with a sign, you were here, on it. You can rely on it when striving for job excellence. For example, you may ask yourself, what exactly needs to be done to increase your total skillset score from X to Z? To find out, we suggest that you run a skillset check for your current job and prepare a summary of your findings. Actually, working on a skillset review is part of your peer review assignment at the end of the course. While you're working on it, you may be interested in seeing an example. To provide you with a meaningful example, we asked one of the students who had previously taken our specialization, Career Brand Management on Coursera to help us prepare a case study. The student generously agreed. Here is the student's story. Maria T is an accountant with a medium-sized company located in a suburban district. After earning a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master's in Accountancy, she had been working for a major listed company but found it very difficult juggling work and raising two children. So, she had to quit her job in the city and found a temporary job closer to home. Maria wants to be active and to remain in the workforce. To keep up with the ever changing environment, she is very much interested in ongoing professional development which includes; taking online courses and attending career development workshops. When Maria recently attended a career coaching seminar, the trainers talk encouraged her. Maria, you should develop your career plan based on your strengths. Maria, you should only use the SMART goals. This is so great. Of course, I know about SMART goals but how can I do this, and where do I begin? After learning Maria's story, we asked Maria about her immediate professional development goals. Well, I think I'm interested in getting a permanent position with my current employer or moving into a similar full-time position with another employer. Frankly, I feel that I know enough about the job but I'd like to make sure that I'm the best candidate for the job once it is advertised. The described situation falls under scenario one, so we asked Maria to help us prepare an illustration for the course by conducting a skillset review for the position. In the example, we wanted to use a simplified skill set to illustrate the basics of the individual skills management. The exercise was not meant to be a training intervention. Specifically, what we wanted Maria to do was to populate the JAFAR, the skills manager application with real life data. To come up with the skillset that would encapsulate the essence of the job, we asked Maria to use the following materials: The job description, a simplified three-tiered skillset model that we developed for the course, the SIMPLE critical tasks framework that we also developed for the course and a clean template of JAFAR, the skills manager spreadsheet application. You may recall that we only use five skills in a free Excel based version of the app in the course. This is of course, a simplified model but it is sufficient to encapsulate the essence of the job, and is well suited to serve as an illustration of how individual skills management works. By the way, when working on your own case, you should feel free to modify the app and add more skills as you see appropriate. But for now, let's focus on Maria's case. Using the three-tiered skillset model, Maria included in her job specific skillset the following skills: Three skills in the main vocational area, which in Maria's case is accounting. One supplementary skill in IT. Communication skills as a complimentary generic skill. While there are many required skills in the job description, we asked Maria to focus on the most important ones. According to Maria, the identified skills are crucial to successfully perform on the job. Then, we asked Maria to translate identified skills into critical tasks. You may recall that it is not merely the skills on the candidate's resume that matter; what matters is how the prospective employee can use the skills to accomplish the assigned critical tasks. To find out which tasks are critical, we suggested that Maria use the simple critical tasks framework that we developed for this course. The simple framework is designed to guide the selection of critical tasks for a job specific skillset. It is informed by the job analysis and goal setting literature, and includes six criteria that are consistent with the skills management framework and JAFAR model of individual skills management that we use in this course. When implementing this simple framework, Maria was looking for specific, important, measurable, performance-oriented, learnable tasks that when taken together encapsulate the essence of the job. In other words, if Maria were the employer and she needed to quickly find out whether someone could persist and excel on the job, she should have used the identified critical tasks as a set of selection criteria for that purpose. After specifying the required skillset and translating it into a set of critical tasks, Maria was ready to conduct a skillset review. How did she do it? We will talk about it in the next lecture. I'll see you in a minute.