In the early stages of development, I recognized the necessity of including skill sets into the framework of a professional website. I created the Skills Based Approach method, which is a four step process to develop a skill set; the four steps are: planning; building; presenting; and validating. The main objective of the survey, Skills Based Approach, is to understand the effectiveness of this method and how a professional website can be used to facilitate its application.
Through the GroupShare communications platform, a professional can reach out to support channels and get counseling on what skills they will need for their career path and how to learn and gain an expertise with a desired skill set. The survey confirmed that skill sets are an effective way to summarize a professional background.
According to the survey, the best way to build an expertise with a skill is to take on a project at work followed by taking a class and volunteering. Other ways to learn a skill include joining an organization and reading a book. In open ended responses, respondents mentioned finding a mentor is also an effective way to develop an expertise with a skill (and it clearly should have been included on the survey). This suggests that someone can counsel you with concrete steps to build expertise with a skill set.
For example, here is a hypothetical plan someone could have suggested to me to become a free-lance web developer (using Counsel Review in GroupShare with a professional website).
Most of the respondents (68.91%) have searched on a skill set and think a skill set is an effective way to summarize a professional background. Skills are integrated into the fabric of a professional website. Once you have acquired some expertise with a skill, you can present them by linking them to your professional experiences – employment, educational, and interests. Anyone reviewing your website can view your skills by reviewing the related section on your website, or searching on them from a search page.
As you validate your expertise with skills (the validation stage of a skill based approach), you can use a professional website to present the most common ways to validate a skill: a sample of work; years of experience; use of references; and certificate, license, or award from a third-party.
There are two ways to share a sample of work. First, you can upload a file that relates to a specific experience. For example, in the education section, you can upload a paper you wrote in an economics class. Second, you can share a “body of work” as a standalone section – here you can provide many samples of work. According the survey, sharing a sample of work was by far the highest ranked way of validating a skill.
When you add skills to your professional website, there is a field that captures “years of experience” and when you “last used the skill”. These factors appear when someone searches on the skill from your professional website.
Using references might be the most common way to validate skills; almost every job application requires you to share a list of references. A problem with the current approach is it does not provide context that can be used in a conversation. With a professional website, it is possible to link your references to particular professional experiences in the same way you link skills to professional experiences. It is clear what experiences and skills a reference is expected to verify.
With a professional website, there is a separate section dedicated for presenting content regarding certifications, awards, or licenses. This method of verifying a skill ranked last in the survey, though 21% of the respondents ranked it first or second which indicates it is more relevant for particular industry/service types like IT, accounting, and finance. Currently, a professional website has the functionality to present a certificate and there are plans to incorporate a verifying mechanism (read a previous blog Badge Concept).
The survey results confirm: a skill set is an effective way to summarize a professional background; it is possible to plan the development of a skill set; and there are certain ways to present and validate a skill. A professional website is built to support a skill based approach, where you plan, build, present, and validate a skill set throughout your career.