Skill Set

Recently, a big property company was in the news when a man it had been courting as chief executive suddenly took a job elsewhere.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

'This is a much closer fit to his skill set,' explained one observer. But what is your skill set? 'Skill' is an ancient word, from the Old Norse skil, meaning discernment or discrimination. It acquired its modern sense of 'practical expertise' in the 16th century. Skill set, meanwhile, is an American term, defined in one state's law as 'the work-related knowledge and abilities needed to produce a particular product or provide a particular service'.

But don't worry if your skill set is light on arc welding or cross-stitch. These days, many prefer to emphasise life skills, including listening, problem-solving and washing your hands properly. These emotional and social skills are much less exclusive than the old-fashioned sort. If you're holding down a job, you may even find your skill set includes them already.

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