Understanding Skill Profiles: A Beginner's Guide

Delaney Caulfield

What is a skill profile?

We've all found ourselves in the sometimes-daunting position of having to search for a new job. Scrolling through pages and pages of job postings to sift out the ones that you qualify for. But what do you rely on to help you determine whether to apply or not? Typically, a job post will state, in detail, exactly what skills are required to be successful in that role.

Consider a skill profile to be just like that job posting. Much like how a team of leaders collaborate to articulate the specific skills that dictate what success means for a particular role. A skill profile is a document produced through a facilitated workshop that identifies a set of specific skills necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of a position or overall abilities needed to succeed in a certain organization.

In essence, a skill profile clearly states what the learner needs to know or be able to do to be successful in a particular skill or skills. The skills may range greatly in scope or complexity and, depending on your organization and position, can consist of cognitive skills (critical thinking, reasoning, and problem solving), and emotional skills (emotional intelligence, the ability to interact positively with others and the development of personal values or ethics). For example, if you're implementing training for Human Resource personnel, the cognitive skills you may wish to focus on could be critical thinking and problem solving, whereas the emotional skills could spotlight interviewing abilities and being able to speak to other people comfortably.

Who needs a skill profile?


Would you sign up and pay for a course that had vague or no information about what you would be learning? Absolutely not. You would expect to be provided with clear learning objectives and an outline that detailed what would be covered in each session.

So, a skill profile is necessary for the development of any competency-based learning program you may wish to implement. During the early to mid stages of implementation, a team consisting of session facilitators, session participants, subject matter experts (SMEs), a card writer and graphic designer will collaborate to decide what should be including in the skill profile. The resulting poster acts as a strategic tool that identifies a set of specific skills necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of a position or organizational area. The skill profile can help contribute to the overall learning and development of an organization, regardless of its size.

Why is it necessary to create a skill profile?


A skill profile can benefit an organization in a number of different ways, including:

  • Improving buy-in: Developing a skill profile can trigger self-awareness about what skills a person currently possesses, and what skills they would like to have. This can increase the interest level of the individual taking the training course as they take a more active approach to their own learning. Buy-in can also be increased through the use of subject matter experts during the skill profile working session.
  • Acting as a catalyst for change: A skill profile can spark change across an organization. As individuals undergo training, they learn new skills and adapt to new processes. A sort of domino effect of transformation possibilities can occur as performance is enhanced, goals and objectives redefined, and further training programs may be planned and implemented.
  • Facilitating communication: A skill profile can serve as a communication tool as it lays out the necessary skills for specific positions within an organization. It clearly communicates role expectations of stakeholders, employees, and management.
  • Planning for future oriented training: A skill profile can help an organization create a strategic vision for the future. Consequently, a skill profile may be adapted or revised to assist with cross-training, used to develop assessment tools to determine performance, target constantly evolving high-risk industry training, help to identify new career trajectories for individuals, create consistency, develop planning that meets the needs of future talent, and lower turnover by identifying proper training and filling gaps that prepare individuals to do their jobs safely.

This is the first article in a three-part series covering Chapter 17 of our Skilling Up textbook. To access other articles in this series, please navigate below.

Article 2 - Coming soon

Article 3 - Coming soon

Ready to revolutionize your organization's learning experience? Download our latest eBook now to uncover the secrets behind successful LMS implementation and create engaging content that inspires your learners.

Download the Free Ebook

Delaney Caulfield

Delaney graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Cultural Studies. After working in an assortment of industries, she spent nearly a decade sharpening her writing and editing skills in the fast-paced field of journalism. Now she works as an Instructional Designer with BaseCorp where she enjoys flexing her passion for learning and creativity.