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How to assess your competences

Describe your competences and remember them all

How to assess your competences

Competences describe your ability to do specific tasks. Throughout your studies, you will learn a wide variety of competences. When applying for positions, you need to be able to explain your strengths and competences. When you are aware of what you can do and what motivates you, you are more attractive to a potential employer.

Your competences

General academic competences

In contrast to your subject-specific competences, you share your general academic competences with a lot more people. Some of them you have in common with other students within your faculty, and some you share with all students that have studied at the university. As an international student, you might also have different competences from Danish students.

They are the methods you use when approaching a task. When you study the natural sciences you often approach a problem differently than someone from the humanities. 

You develop your academic skills when you work with various academic challenges and tools. It is not about the product but the process of making it. How did you do what you did?

An example of general academic competences:

  • Outlining, defining and analyzing academic problems by using relevant theories and methods 
  • Systematizing complex knowledge and data, and selecting and prioritizing what is relevant to the subject or problem
  • Critically assessing various theories and methods and use them 
  • Critical thinking regarding challenges and source critisism 
  • Communicating academic problems and solutions to different target groups
  • Managing complex data and challenges
  • Giving and receiving feedback and constructive criticism while collaborating with others
  • Working independently in a disciplined, structured, and focused manner, as well as keeping deadlines and formalities

You can read more about your general academic skills in your program curriculum.

Subject-specific competences

What have you learned during your studies? 

Your subject-specific competences are unique to your particular educational program. We can also call them "technical" skills that make you able to manage a certain job or specific tasks. They are what you have learned in the courses you have taken and the knowledge you have gained from them.

They are often the easiest competences to name, as you can go through your course list and see what you have learned. What topics and themes have you been through? Look through the course descriptions and write them down.

Personal competences

Your personal competences are about who you are, what characterizes you, and what motivates you. They also describe how you work and how you relate to other people. Maybe you really like collaborating with others or maybe you like taking the lead in the group and making decisions. 

What are my personal competences?

Defining your personal competences can be difficult. Try this: 

Recall the last time you participated in a project work:

  • How did you go about the process from the beginning?
  • What went well?
  • What didn't go so well? 
  • What did you do or which competences did you use that made it go well? 

Ask other people how they would characterize you: 

  • What do other people say that you're good at? 
  • How would they describe you? 
  • What do other people thank you for? 
How to work on your competences

The best way to understand your competences and the way you use your education, is by trying it in practice, while you're studying. 

You can do this in an internship, project work, job or volunteer work.

That way you also begin building your network.

Next steps: