Going down the road of self-development requires the courage to leave your comfort zone. In this article you will learn how to take the first step, that is, how to diagnose your professional weaknesses and determine what criteria should be used when choosing a training program that will help overcome them.

We start our search for professional weaknesses that prevent you from developing your full professional potential by identifying our competence gaps. The term competence is a combination of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that enable us to achieve specific goals or fulfil requirements related to, for example, our particular position. For example: A good salesperson should have highly developed communication skills. People who don’t have that competence have a competence gap, which can be bridged by acquiring the required knowledge, translating it into practical skills (knowledge proven in practice) and developing the required attitude (this component is characterised by the greatest ‘resistance’ to change). Various types of training are suited to addressing competence gaps. You just need to know which type to choose to further develop your competences.

How do you determine your professional weaknesses?

If you know in what direction you want to develop your career, determining your professional deficits won’t be difficult. You can diagnose the competence gaps on your own or with the help of a coach. Once you know what gaps you should address, you can pursue your dream job or improve your qualifications for your existing position.

STEP 1: The professional profile for your dream position

Determine the list of skills and the scope of knowledge necessary for a given position or profession. Also, specify to what extent a given competence is desirable, for example proficiency in a foreign language. You might want to look at job postings that list the desired competences, read industry publications, or talk to people working in the position you’re interested in. The more detailed information you get, the more certain you can be that you won’t overlook any important skills.

STEP 2: Your own professional profile

Create a list of your professional skills and determine the scope of your knowledge, thus creating your current competence profile. When working on the list, focus on answering the following questions:

  • What can I do now?
  • To what extent did I master the skill?
  • What do I already know?
  • To what extent?
  • Is my knowledge of the area complete?

STEP 3: Compare both profiles

Compare both profiles. Check in which areas the knowledge and skills you identified in your profile don’t match the requirements of the target profile. When making the comparison, check whether you have the required skills and knowledge, and to what extent they overlap with the requirements of the professional profile.

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