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Skill Inventory: How to Do a Self-Assessment of Your Skills and Find Out Your Core Strengths

A closeup view of a colleague smiling in the workplace.


Skill Inventory: How to Do a Self-Assessment of Your Skills and Find Out Your Core Strengths

Performing a skill inventory and self-assessment can enhance your performance and help you identify areas for growth. Below, you’ll find all the information you need to get started!

Don’t feel like reading? Listen here!

A skill inventory can help you determine the self-concept you need to achieve your career goals. The formula is simple: self-knowledge + self-awareness leads to job search success. Follow this guide to learn more about who you are — and what you’re worth on the job market.


What Is a Self-Assessment and Why Is It Important?

Self-assessment is an efficient technique that helps you become more conscious in your decision-making. It echoes your current self-view by measuring your values, skills, and motivations.

You might already be familiar with self-assessments from school or work. But conducting a jobseeker skill inventory and self-assessment can deliver surprising insights. During this process, work-related characteristics and competencies you didn’t realize you had may come to the surface.

The Difference between a Skill Inventory and a Self Evaluation

A skill inventory is simply a compilation of information about work competencies and skills. Self-evaluation, by contrast, is a deeper goal-oriented analysis. In a self-evaluation, you’re looking at your performance and how your competencies manifest in a real-world context. By this logic, a skill inventory and self-assessment is an early step in self-evaluation, where you assess your own work. And the insights you gain about yourself through a skill inventory can help you see the root of any issues or weaknesses you discover during a self-evaluation.

Are You Ready to Assess Yourself?

Now that you’re equipped with the purpose of a self-assessment and skill inventory, it’s time to find out how well you truly know yourself.

Below, you will find handy tools for your self-assessment and skill inventory. And all you’ll need to complete this is a pen, paper, and some focused time.

Our goal here is to help you determine your motivations and pinpoint your top work values and skills, as well as areas for improvement. But before you get started, make sure to:

  • Take your time. The self-assessment process can take a while. If you can’t dedicate enough time now, put it aside and choose another day. As you’ll need to digest a substantial amount of information, we advise you to complete this assessment in multiple sittings.
  • Be honest with yourself.
  • Set yourself up in a calm environment so you can stay focused.


Tip: If you don’t have work experience yet, try to consider the questions in another scenario where you had to meet requirements — for instance, as a student or volunteer.

Figure Out Your Work Values

These are the work-related values that matter most to you. We distinguish two work value categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic values are basically your input – every principle and effort you foster in a work environment. Extrinsic work values, the output, include all the outcomes of your input — and the opportunities a workplace might convey.

Professionals looking at a computer screen at the workplace.


Let’s look at your input first. What intrinsic values are important to you? Choose five values from the list below. Feel free to add your own, too. Then use each chosen value to answer the questions below.

Work morale











Personal conviction

  • ______________ is important to me because…
  • I can bring ____________ to the table because… (give an example. Link it to your work history or other fields that can convert into a professional area)
  • How could my (future) employer benefit from my _______________?
  • When I live ________________, I act/react…
  • When I live ________________, I feel…
  • Does the world need my _______________…?
  • If there were only one value I could sell, would they pay for my _______________?
  • Does my community recognize _______________?

Now try to think of a situation where you (or somebody else) represented or performed this value. The feelings and thoughts this value generated in you were…

  • Awesome
  • Good but nothing special
  • Neutral
  • Not good at all

If your rating for this value is “neutral,” or “not good at all,” don’t put it on your list.


Next, let’s shed some light on your output. What extrinsic values are important to you? You can find several examples in our list below.

Working conditions

Work-life balance



Job security

Social contacts


Financial compensations

Choose five values that are important to you, and use each one to answer the following questions:

  • _______________ is important to me because…
  • I can benefit from _______________ because…
  • Does _______________ add to my professional development to a great extent?
  • How does this value influence your decisions, behavior, or lifestyle?
  • When I encounter/experience/have _______________, does it make a difference?
  • How does my current/last employer represent/deal with ________________? Am/was I satisfied with it?

Now think of a time when you experienced this value in your career and try to rate it. Was it…?

  • Outstanding
  • Excellent
  • Average
  • Below average

If you choose average, or below average, don’t put this value on your list.

Pinpoint Your Skills with a Skill Inventory

You need various abilities to excel in a work environment. The ones you specifically need to do your job correctly are called work skills.

Skill sets can be divided into many different categories. The three main groups are soft skills, hard skills, and hybrid skills (a combination of hard and soft skills).

Professional taking a self-assessment test on a laptop.

Soft Skills

Soft skills involve your personal traits (e.g. adaptability, integrity). And if you want to be competitive in a fast-changing job market, you need soft skills as much as technical skills.

If you would like to learn more, our Workstyle Game assesses your soft skills using the features of your personality type. After getting your personalized results, you’ll have a large amount of fruitful information that can translate into benefits.

Hard Skills

Hard skills, or technical skills (e.g. math), can be developed via educational programs. You can also demonstrate them with certificates and qualifications. So, one may conclude that hard skills are easier than soft skills to validate on paper.

Skill Inventory

We have listed various skills for you below. You can use these skills, along with Lensa’s Workstyle Game results and other elements, to build your skill inventory.

If you’re ready, let’s expand your insights into your skills by answering the following questions:

  • What are my strongest skills?
  • How do I demonstrate them?
  • Which skill am I the most powerful with? Prioritize your assets.
  • What am I not really good at?
  • Are these my weaknesses, or simply not my TOP strengths?
  • If these are my weaknesses, are these my obstacles as well?
  • Do I need to develop them? Why?

When you’ve finished creating your skill inventory, you will have a much better understanding of your unique skill set.

Infographic on skill inventory during self-assessment

Your Motivation

Work-related motivation is the desire that drives your career. Motivation can be measured by your attitude, as well as the intensity and quality of your work.

Explore what really interests you with the following questions:

  • What do I love doing?
  • Do I enjoy what I’m good at?
  • Is the social status of the job important to me? Why?
  • Is corporate culture important to me? If so, how much and why?
  • Is working on a good team important to me? If so, how much?
  • Is professional development important to me? If so, how much?
  • How does it feel when I get a task which seems to be too hard or too easy?
  • Is having flexible working hours important to me? Or would I prefer a 9-5 job?
  • Is it important for me to have weekends off? Why?
  • Is a high salary important to me? Why?
  • Is having access to a benefits package important to me? Why?

After finishing the list, take time to reflect and sort out the answers you think drive you the most. Those will be your motivations.

Read through all you’ve learned and focus on your top assets and priorities. Whether you found anything surprising or not, believe in what you want and what you have.

The Benefits of Skill Inventory and Self-Assessment

As you become a more confident job seeker, your ability to stand out from the crowd will increase. And by sharing your self-knowledge in your resume, cover letter, portfolio, LinkedIn profile, and anywhere else with an “About” box, you’ll easily catch the attention of your next employer!

Check out the Lensa Insights blog for more tips and tricks to land your next job. We’d love to help!

Team Lensa
Team Lensa
Team Lensa is a group of HR specialists, career counselors, and tech enthusiasts dedicated to helping job seekers navigate the employment landscape through actionable tips and insights.

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