How to Boost Your Skills

Date: March 15, 2022
Categories: 11-15 | 16-18 | 19-24 | 24+ | Featured | Guides
Learn how to build new skills in Greater Manchester, and make the most of the skills and personal strengths you already have.

Finding a job can feel like a challenge. Especially when it feels like employers expect you to have a lot of experience, and you’re still building it up! The good news? You already have the personal skills and strengths that employers want.

What skills can you boost without qualifications?

There are quite a few skills that you can work on without having to undergo a formal qualification. For example:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving
  • Organisation
  • Timekeeping
  • Positive attitude
  • Leadership
  • Resilience (the ability to get back up when life knocks you down, and to learn from your mistakes)

Which of these sound like you? And which do you think you could do with boosting a bit more?

You can build all these skills over time, whatever situation you are in. They’re all skills that employers love you to have. Demonstrating that you have these skills is a great way to show that you are the perfect fit for a job or opportunity, even if you don’t have much work experience yet!

What skills do you already have?

To help you think about the skills you might have, ask a friend you trust about what the five best things about you are. What they tell you could help you figure out what skills you’ve already got, and where there are opportunities for you to work on developing your skills.

  • Are you a good shoulder to cry on? That’s
  • Do you always lift their spirits? That’s positive attitude.
  • Do you always have a plan for fun when your friendship group is bored? That’s leadership.
  • Are you the ones to smooth things over when friends have an argument? That’s communication. It can also be a sign of great teamwork and leadership because there’s more than one way to be a leader!
  • Are you the one who remembers everyone’s birthday and makes them a cake? Do you have an exams revision schedule and stick to it? Amazing. You sound really organised.
  • If a problem crops up, do you panic or do you try to come up with a few solutions and pick the one that makes the most sense? That’s problem solving.

You can see why employers love these skills. They will help you fit into a new job, take instructions from your manager, do your best, and be excited about learning new things (and even learning from your mistakes – it’s okay, we all make them!).

Think about what you’ve achieved in life so far. School projects, work experience, part time jobs, hobbies and interests… how did you make things go well? What did you get praised for? What are you especially proud of? Asking yourself these questions will give you insight into your strengths and skills.

How to talk about your skills to employers

There are a few key times that you’ll talk about your skills to employers.

CVs, personal statements, and cover letters

When you make a personal statement at the top of your CV, or when you write a cover letter for a job application, you’ll often mention your key skills and strengths. So, it’s good to know what they are!

Job descriptions – they’ll say what skills the employer is looking for!

When you look at any job vacancy or opportunity like an apprenticeship, you will often see a section called something like “what we’re looking for” or “job requirements”. It will list out some of the skills you’ll generally need to be a great fit for that opportunity. Make sure you echo these skills or show how you have them in your cover letter and (fingers crossed) interview!

You can often figure out what skills are needed in a job from the duties and responsibilities mentioned in a job vacancy description. For example, an office admin assistant job might say you’ll be organising the stationery cupboard and answering calls. You can guess that your communication skills and organisation skills are going to come in useful in this role! Even if you haven’t done lots of office admin jobs before, you can still impress the employer by showing how you used your communicating or organising skills in volunteering, work experience, part time jobs or a passion project you are especially proud of.

Talking about your skills in job interviews

You might get a job interview by phone, video call, or a face-to-face interview in an office. You will often be asked “give me an example of a time when you displayed your communication skills” (or whichever skill they’re looking for). So, make sure you can give examples of how you’ve used your skills and personal strengths in the past!

Boost your skills with free training

Lots of organisations offer young people free skills training courses. They’re a great way to boost your confidence and CV. Sometimes these courses take place online. Check out a few examples below or see more on our opportunities page.

Manchester Mind Skills Training

Manchester Mind run a variety of free courses to help build skills and confidence. They’re delivered by their qualified and friendly Manchester Mind trainers.

Free skills training events in GM

Look on Eventbrite and you can see free training opportunities for all kinds of skills across Greater Manchester and the surrounding areas. Why not take a look? Get inspired by freebies to help you boost everything from your digital skills to your personal confidence.

We haven’t checked out every course here, but you can see what’s listed and decide if it sounds like a good fit for you.

Youth Employment UK Young Professional Training

Wherever you live in Manchester, you can sign up to free online Young Professional Training. You’ll get weekly tips and insights to boost your skills and hear about youth-friendly employers and opportunities.

Boost your skills with volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to build your skills and learn new ones. And there’s a massive bonus too: you can add volunteering to your CV to impress employers! Volunteer Centre Manchester has lots of different ways for you to broaden your horizons, learn new skills and get involved.