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Skills assessment


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SkillScan is a career development tool that helps individuals identify their skills and strengths to make informed career decisions. It is an online assessment that measures an individual's transferable skills, which are skills that can be used across a range of industries and job roles. 

The SkillScan assessment is completed by responding to a series of statements about skills and abilities. The responses are then used to generate a personalised report that provides a list of the individual's top transferable skills, as well as suggestions for careers that align with those skills. The report also includes strategies for developing and utilising those skills in the workplace. 

SkillScan is often used by career counselors, coaches, and individuals who are exploring new career options or seeking to make a career change. The tool can help individuals to gain a better understanding of their strengths and how those strengths can be applied in different work environments. Additionally, it can provide guidance on potential career paths and help individuals to make more informed decisions about their professional development 

Pros and cons of SkillScan

Pros of SkillScan

Helps individuals to identify their transferable skills, which can be useful in a variety of career paths and industries. 

Provides personalised feedback and recommendations based on the individual's skills and abilities. 

Can be a useful tool for career exploration and decision-making, as well as for developing a career development plan. 

The assessment is easy to complete and can be done online, which makes it accessible to a wide range of individuals. 

The cost of the assessment is relatively low compared to other career development tools, which can make it an attractive option for individuals and organisations with limited budgets. 

Cons of SkillScan

The cost may put some individuals and organisations off. 

Based on USA employment market data, so not always translatable for UK-based people. 

The assessment is focused primarily on skills and may not take into account other factors that can be important in career decision-making, such as interests and values. 

The recommendations provided by the assessment may not be accurate or relevant to the individual's specific career goals or circumstances. 

The assessment relies on self-reporting, which can be influenced by an individual's perception of their own skills and abilities. 

The assessment may not be as useful for individuals who have already identified their career goals and are seeking more targeted career development support. 

The results of the assessment may not be as useful for individuals who do not believe in the concept of transferable skills or do not find the assessment format helpful. 

What do postdocs think of SkillScan?

We trialled this with a sample of postdocs at the University of Liverpool alongside myIDP/ImaginePhD, a free skills analysis test which had been tailored specifically for researchers. 

The UoL postdocs who trialled SkillScan rated it as most useful for identifying your skills (Average score = 3.5/5). They also found it useful for identifying skills development needs and interests (Average score = 3.2/5). In general, the sample of UoL postdocs that trialled SkillScan recommended it mostly as an exploratory tool and less as a useful prompt for career planning. 

Although the UoL postdocs criticised the tool for not being academic-oriented during the trial, they also recognised that this might also be an opportunity, enabling considerations about ‘broader career development’ (UoL Humanities postdoc) and opportunities beyond academia. In general, comments from the trials suggested the complementary role of SkillScan to a more academic-oriented and discipline-relevant tool (like myIDP or ImaginePhD) and suggested the use of both tools as useful for different reasons. 

Using both tools in combination was particularly useful for postdocs in their early years:

“ImaginePhD told me that I’m well-suited for a career as research-based faculty, which is reassuring to know, but what if I wanted to move beyond that? I felt that SkillScan suggested more variety of careers (even if they were quite basic and generic).”

Humanities postdoc, University of Liverpool.

It’s worth bearing in mind that SkillScan’s suggestions can cover a broad range of career pathways, so this tool could be used as a good starting point from which to start a more targeted exploration. We provide this caveat given that a UoL Biochemistry postdoc pointed out that since SkillScan:

“[...]does not take into account previous experience and career position […] the listed results were overwhelming with maybe a hundred […] career paths for me to then click on.

Biochemistry postdoc, University of Liverpool.

The colour-coded report output was also a positive feature for the postdocs who trialled the tool, as was the ability to download it for revisiting their results. As one UoL postdoc from Health and Life Sciences put it:

“it would be useful to take the skill development charts into your PDR to discuss how to best develop them.”

Postdoc from Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool.

Other assessments

Personality tests

Values and strengths tests

Skills and career interests tests


Boston University (2020) The Postdoc Academy: Succeeding as a Postdoc. Available at: (Accessed: 17 March 2020). 

Postdoc Academy (2019) Welcome to the Postdoc Academy. Available at: (Accessed: 17 March 2020). 

SkillScan (no date) About the Author. Available at: (Accessed: 4 April 2020). 

SkillScan (no date) Career Assessments for Counselors. Available at: (Accessed: 4 April 2020). 

SkillScan (2019) Confidence and Context: Using SkillScan with PhD Students and Postdoctoral Researchers. Available at: (Accessed: 19 May 2020). 

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