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A List of Skill Competencies

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To be successful in the 21st century global job market, individuals need to be competent in -- and apply a variety of -- skills and abilities. Competencies are measurable and observable skills, abilities, knowledge and behaviors. They are an essential part of job descriptions and all aspects of the recruitment process: selection, training, development, performance management and career planning.

Creativity & Innovation

Creativity is the mental process of developing new ideas or ways of doing things that results in observable outcomes. These outcomes can be innovations -- improvements -- in current fields such as math, science, social issues and technology. Receiving emails on your mobile phone is an innovation in email service. Or these outcomes can be new advances in burgeoning fields, such as wind energy in the wind power industry. There are ways to generate creative ideas and innovations. You can brainstorm, by which you list all the thoughts you have on a subject, without consideration of the correctness or applicability of the idea. The list you generate can potentially include some useful ideas. Automatic writing is another way to generate creative inspirations. You write down the question you have on a topic. Without thinking, begin to write. Similar to brainstorming, you can potentially generate innovative ideas. Sometimes not thinking about a subject, “putting it on the back burner,” can help with creativity. Tackle a non-thinking intensive task like the laundry or housecleaning, but keep note paper nearby. There is a good chance that during this process, an inspiration or solution can occur; if its deos, jot it down quickly so you don't forget it.

Communication & Collaboration

Once you have an idea or innovation, being able to express it in oral, written and nonverbal forms is an important life skill. You can communicate your ideas to instruct, inform, persuade or motivate your co-workers. Communication is a key component of collaboration and working with others. Many great advances and innovations have required teams of people working in partnership toward shared goals. For example: since 2000, 15 nations have contributed to the building of the International Space Station.

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Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

A natural outgrowth of creativity and collaboration is thinking critically and solving problems. Once you’ve generated ideas -- either individually or in groups -- you review them for their viability. The mental process of thinking critically uses inductive and deductive reasoning, analysis and interpretation to generate possible solutions and responses. The worldwide response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is an example of the complex interrelatedness of these skills. The initial responses focused on immediate rescue needs; this required collaboration among many different groups and agencies. As the recovery progressed, the Thai government critically reviewed the long-term impact of its natural-disaster preparedness. You can also apply critical thinking and problem solving on a local level. Someone you know may have large, unanticipated medical expenses. After critically evaluating the challenging situation, you collaborate with others to come up with viable short- and long-term solutions.

Digital skills: Technology, Media & the Internet

Using technology is more than saving files and placing calls. You need to know how to use technology and media to communicate, collaborate and problem solve. This includes having basic skills in word processing, number/financial management, data management and presentations. Additionally, you need to be able to communicate locally and globally using the Internet. If you are researching or evaluating an issue or topic, you need to discern the value of the information. You also need to know how to email, create and save files, use GPS, and prepare and send sound and audio files through your desktop computer, laptop computer or mobile device.

About the Author

Helen Trencher has been writing professionally since 1991, including instructional materials, business proposals, college seminars and workshop guides. In 2000 she published an article on the health benefits of drumming for "Colorado Mature Lifestyles." Trencher holds a Bachelor of Arts in education from Lehman College and a Master of Science in education from Fordham University.

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