The final stage in a skills based approach is the validation stage; this is where you find ways to establish credibility with the skills in your skill set. You are already telling an audience you have these skills, now you want to prove or demonstrate your expertise with them. Why do you need to validate your skills? There are a few reasons: interested parties want to verify you can do what you say you can do; ways you validate skills often “set a bar” that can be used to compare your level of expertise with another professional; sometimes validation is a requirement for your responsibilities, such as a CPA certification in accounting; and validating through the use of an endorsement or reference can provide added context related to their experiences with you.
There are a number of ways you can validate a skill. First, you can provide a sample of work that demonstrates your expertise with a skill. Second, related to the first point, you can write and maintain a blog; this is a writing sample and shows you have insights and are keeping up with the most current ideas in your discipline. Third, you can provide a reference or endorsement who may be called upon to elaborate about their experience with you; LinkedIn built a sophisticated interface based on this type of validation. Fourth, you can obtain a certification or award from a third-party confirming your skill level. Finally, you can explain how you have applied a skill and share how many years of experience you have with a skill.
In the next series of blogs, I will discuss the effectiveness of the different ways to validate a skill and explain how to incorporate them with a professional website.