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What are competencies?

Improve your chances of getting hired by knowing what your competencies are and how to use them to your advantage.

Competencies describe your soft skills, or, more simply put, things you do well. These can be a natural born talent or can be a learned skill.  It is important to make the distinction between hard skills and soft skills.  Hard skills are specific areas of educated experience, for example, being proficient in Ajax or Python development language, Excel, Data Management, Project Management etc.  These are things that you have been trained on and have likely studied.  Soft skills or competencies are personal characteristics that you bring to work that define how you work, your work style and your approach and mindset.  Your personal character.


The World Economic Forum released

its 2021 Job Skills report citing

competencies, not hard skills, that

will dominate in the next five years in

employer hiring priorities.

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According to this report, skills like problem solving, self-management, critical thinking and active learning and creative thinking and innovation are among the top competencies employers are looking for.

Notice the change in demand for these soft skills over time.

So what are your competencies and how do you talk about these competencies when you talk about yourself and your achievements in your resume and in interviews?  Are you emphasizing these skills in the language that you use?  This takes practice.  The language that you use in your interview response should include self-describing phrases that highlight characteristics that you offer that will help you to differentiate yourself and how you fit.

Here are a few competencies that you can review and think about in relation to yourself and your work mindset.  Start thinking about how you can emphasize these strengths in your resume, when talking about strengths and responding to questions in an interview.


Authenticity and honesty

Collaborative team


Compassionate citizen

Competitive high performing

Leadership character

Diverse non judging mindset

Individual worker

Motivated to grow and learn

Objective oriented and achievement

Open and adaptable

Outgoing confident 

Positive attitude

Proactive takes initiative

Problem solving

Self regulating of time, self starter

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