Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development

Assessing your skills

Regularly reflecting on the skills you have, and the skills you need is essential, regardless of at what stage of the PhD journey you are at.

Why should I reflect on my skills?

Research requires a variety of technical expertise and professional transferable skills. Fine tuning your skills set will help you through your PhD and ready you for future employment.

Many of your professional skills are highly valuable and relevant to a wide range of jobs, inside and outside academia. It is important to identify them so that you know what you have to offer in these competitive academic and non-academic job markets.

Stepping back to really appreciate the full range of skills that you already have will guide you towards identifying those you may need in the future.

Doing a skills audit

We offer a simple skills guide and skills audit template to help you with your personal development planning.

Skills guide

The skills guide will help you start thinking about the full range of skills you may possess. It lists broad categories of transferable skills that particularly apply to PhD students. The guide may be used as a reference when:

  • identifying your skill gaps
  • discussing training with your supervisor
  • updating your CV
  • preparing for interviews

Skills audit template

We have designed a skills audit template to complement the skills guide and help you with identifying your own skill set.

The audit document takes you through the process:

  • getting started,
  • reviewing what you have achieved so far,
  • assessing the skills you have and need,
  • considering what you need going forward
  • action planning.

We would recommend setting aside an hour or two to do it properly.

Skills audit template for PhD students .doc - 154KB

Speaking to your supervisor and peers will help you to answer some of these questions, so remember to seek feedback regularly

What next?

After reviewing your skills, you will have a better idea of where to direct your time and effort in terms of your own development. You will find our other web pages in the training and careers development section useful as a next step.