Determining Your Job Skills
Another tip for finding the right job: Make a list of your background and experience. If you think you don't have any experience -- THINK AGAIN! You may not have specific job experience, but you do have work experience. You have "worked" as a homemaker, a student, a volunteer, in a hobby or some other personal activity. The skills you use for these "jobs" can be applied to other jobs.

A background and experience list may help you to:

  • fill out job applications
  • provide information for job interviews
  • prepare resumes (if you're applying for professional or office

Tips for Making a Background and Experience List:

Interests and Aptitudes

  • List your hobbies, clubs you belong to, sports you're involved in,
    church and school activities, and things that interest you. List
    things you are good at or have special ability for.

    Your list may look like it has nothing to do with job skills or
    experience. That's O.K. -- the purpose of this list is to make you think
    about your interests and things you do in everyday life.
  • Look at the first item on your list. Think about the skills or
    talents it takes to do that item. Really think about it! All
    hobbies, activities, etc. take a lot of skills, knowledge and
    abilities. Write them all down.

    Here are some examples: Hobbies, Sports, School Skills, Knowledge, Abilities, Activities Things l Do Well: and Talents It Takes To Do
    These Things:

Playing Basketball

  • Ability to interact with others ("be a team player")
  • Ability to use basic arithmetic (keep track of score)
  • Ability to reach, lift, jump, stoop, and run -- Skills in directing others
    (calling plays, coaching)


  • Ability to manage budgets
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks
  • Knowledge of human development
  • Skills in teaching/training others
  • Cooking, cleaning, laundry

Fixing Cars

  • Ability to diagnose mechanical problems
  • Skill in using a variety of tools
  • Ability to see differences in shapes and sizes of objects
  • Knowledge of electronics

Work History

If you've worked before, list your jobs. Include volunteer, part-time,
summer, and self-employment. Next, write down work duties for the jobs
you listed. Now, think about the skills or talents it took to do each work
duty. Write them down.

Here's an example:

Work Duties

  • Pick vegetables and fruits on a farm
  • Use hoes, shovels and shears to plant, cultivate, and prune fruit trees

Skills or Talents

  • Inspect fruits for damage/ripenes
  • Ability to work quickly and skillfully with hands
  • Skill in using tools
  • Ability to work outside for long periods of time
  • Physical endurance
  • Bending, stooping


  • List the schools you attended, dates, major studies or courses
    completed. Include military and vocational education and on-the-job
  • List degrees, certificates, awards and honors.
  • Ask yourself what classes or training you liked. Why did you like

Physical Condition

  • Do you have any disabilities limiting the kind of work you can do?
    Companies will often make special accommodations to employ disabled
    persons (in fact, some accommodations are legally required). If you
    have strong or special physical capabilities, list these too.

Career Goals

  • What kind of work do you want to be doing 5 or 10 years from now?
    What kind of job could you get now to help you reach this goal?

Matching Your Background And Experience To Jobs

Look at the abilities (talents) identified on your background and experience list. You have talents that you use everyday. Now find out what JOBS can use your talents. Start at your local State Employment Service Office ("Job Service").
This office has free information about many jobs. You may be given an
appointment with a career counselor who can help you decide what kind of
work is best suited to your abilities and interests.
While you're at Job Service, ask to see the Guide for Occupational Exploration and the Occupational Outlook Handbook (you can also get these books at most public libraries). These easy to read books, published by the Department of Labor, describe:

  • work duties for many different occupations
  • skills and abilities needed for different types of jobs
  • how to enter occupations
  • where jobs are located
  • training and qualifications needed
  • earnings, working conditions, and future opportunities.

Match the skills and abilities in your list to the skills and abilities of different jobs. Don't limit yourself. The important thing is not the job title, but the skills and abilities of the job. You may find that your skills and abilities match with an occupation that you have never thought about.

Other Sources For Job Information

If you know what job skills you have, you are ready to look for a
job. You can look for job openings at these sources:

  • Networking. Tell everyone you know you're looking for a job. Ask
    about openings where your friends work.
  • Private employers. Contact employers directly to market your job
    talents. Talk to the person who would supervise you even if there
    are no jobs currently open.
  • State Employment Service Offices provide help on finding jobs and
    other services, such as career counseling. See the back of this
    brochure for the Employment Service Office in your state.
  • America's Job Bank. A nation-wide pool of job opportunities which
    will extend your search to other states and can be viewed in your
    local Employment Service offices or directly through the Internet'
  • Federal, state and local government personnel offices list a wide
    range of job opportunities. Check the Government listings in your
    phone book.
  • Local public libraries have books on occupations and often post
    local job announcements. Many state libraries are also providing
    free access to Internet through PCs.
  • Newspaper ads list various job openings.
  • Local phone book. Look for career counseling centers in your area
    (some may require fees).
  • Private employment and temporary centers offer placement (employer
    or job hunter may pay a fee).
  • Community colleges and trade schools usually offer counseling and
    job information to students and the general public.
  • Proprietary schools. Private training centers offer instruction in
    specific trades (tuition is usually required). Check with your
    office of state education for credible schools.
  • Community organizations such as clubs, associations, women and
    minority centers, and youth organizations.
  • Churches frequently operate employment services or provide job
    search help.
  • Veterans' placement centers operate through state employment
    offices. Veterans' social and help organizations often have job
    listings for members.
  • Unions and apprenticeship programs provide job opportunities and
    information. Contact your state apprenticeship council or relevant
    labor union directly.
  • Government sponsored training programs offer direct placement or
    short-term training and placement for applicants who qualify. Check
    the yellow pages under Job Training Programs or Government
  • Journals and newsletters for professionals or trade associations
    often advertise job openings in their field. Ask for these at the
    local library.

Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, all of the sources listed above
serve persons of any race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 forbids agencies to
discriminate against older workers. Both laws forbid employers to
discriminate in hiring.

Information from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration