Course  ·  Part 1  ·  Assignment 9

Icebreaker

Assess Your Existing Skills

 Time limit: 1 hour

Remember to use your visual timer! We recommend the inventor’s iOS and Android apps — just search for “Time Timer” in the app store.

 

Explanation

Particularly if you’ve been working in another profession for a number of years, deciding to change career can come with a sense of waste, and even grief.

After all, you invested a lot of your energy, talents — and probably money — into something that you’re now choosing to leave behind, and that you might even feel quite negatively about.

We’ve talked about imposter syndrome, which can be a creative force for good, because it causes us to ask questions and challenge assumptions. However, outright negativity is no use to us at all, so let’s spend some time reframing your existing skills.

In this assignment, you’ll list as many of your existing skills as you can, and then think creatively about how they might support your work as a designer.

Instructions

1

List your skills

 Set your timer: 30 minutes

Step away from the computer. Grab your notebook, and, on the left hand side of the page, list all the skills and experience that you can think of in one long column. Leave a bit of space between each line — you’ll see why shortly!

Go big — quantity over quality. If in doubt, include it. And use as many pages as you need. Here are some prompts in case you find it hard to get started:

  • List soft skills like time management or conversational skills
  • Include hard skills like coding or copywriting
  • Write down interests and hobbies like cycling or knitting
  • Add qualifications like a Bachelors’ degree in English, or a music diploma
2

Think how those skills can help you as a designer

 Set your timer: 30 minutes

Go back to the beginning of your list. Next to each item, write down one or more ways that each skill could directly or indirectly support your work as a designer.

Again, aim for as many ideas as possible — it doesn’t matter if there are bad ideas in there. Be imaginative in thinking about how your skills could transfer. There are no wrong answers in this exercise.

Tips

It can sometimes be hard to see our own skills clearly. If you get stuck, get help from someone who knows you well. Ask them the following questions, write down what they say, and then incorporate those items into your list:

  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my skills?
  • What are my interests?

In conclusion...

You’ve audited your existing skills, and are hopefully feeling good about them. Next up, it’s time to set some personal goals!

Assignment version 1.0
Last updated 7 June 2021

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