Career Advice

Find your strongest competencies


It's useful to know your strengths when looking for a job or negotiating your salary. But don't just focus on professional competencies - remember your personal and social skills. Here's IDA's guide to determining your strongest competencies.
Your skills and competencies are your goods for sale in the job market when you are looking for jobs or negotiating your salary.
Therefore, you are weaker if you are not aware of what you are good at. It sounds simple, but many people find it difficult to put their own skills into words because they take them for granted.
At the same time, many also underestimate the importance of personal and social skills in a job.
By going about it systematically, you can prepare yourself better for the salary negotiation or for the job search when you have to write CVs and job applications. You become more aware of which tasks you actually enjoy and which you are just good at.

Professional, personal and social competencies

There are three types of competencies which play a role in job searching and salary negotiation: Personal, social and professional competencies.

The professional competencies are most important when writing applications and setting up your CV and of most interest to employers in general as these are what they are looking for.

Professional competencies covers the specialist knowledge you have from your studies and job in a STEM industry.

Professional competences can, for example, cover your abilities within:

  • Programming
  • Project Management
  • Quality control
  • Customer advice

Your personal competencies may seem more abstract because they are less learned and more characteristics that you are not proven to possess.

However, your personal characteristics are important to the employer because they have an impact on how you handle your work tasks. Personal competences can, for example, cover:

  • Curiosity
  • Creativity
  • Independence
  • Analytic sense
  • Extroversion

Your social skills are important because you have to be part of a workplace and be able to cooperate with your colleagues.

In a study by the recruitment agency Ballisager, 80 percent of the companies surveyed answered that they look at which candidate will fit in best in the workplace when they have to choose between two final candidates. Only 20 percent look at who is the strongest professionally.

 The social skills cover:

  • Collaboration skills
  • Empathy
  • Presentation
  • Communication

Competences and preferences are not the same

When you form an overview of your competencies, you must prioritize them according to what you think is the most fun and exciting to work with.

There is not always a match between the tasks you are good at and those you enjoy. If you only apply for jobs for which you are highly qualified, you may feel that you have painted yourself into a corner and cannot move forward.

Therefore, you must be brave and take on jobs that require skills that you are not yet strong in, if you feel that it will give you greater job satisfaction and well-being.

Get help to clarify your competences

As an IDA member, you have access to a number of services and tools that you can use to clarify your competences:

  • Competency profile: The competence profile is a document that helps you set up your competences in a logical way. You can use it as a tool to clarify your skills yourself, but you can also use it as a supplement to the classic CV when you are looking for a job.
    Use IDA's competency profile
  • CompetenceCoach: IDA's CompetenceCoach is a digital tool where you can select and prioritize your competencies within a number of different disciplines. In this way, you get a better understanding of your own strengths and preferences when you have to apply for a job.
    Use IDA's CompetenceCoach (In Danish)
  • Career advice: You can book a one-hour personal interview with one of IDA's career advisers. They can help you zoom in on which tasks you enjoy and how they can become a bigger part of your working life. You can also get advice on job searches, CVs and applications.
    Log in and book a career consultation

Do you have work experience?

Download the competency profile that fits your current job situation:

Newly graduate or still studying?

Download the competency profile here:

Learn more