• Hillary Hufford-Tucker

Completing a Skills Gap Analysis

Job requirements and skills are always evolving. A gap analysis is a powerful tool that shows you the difference between your current skills and those needed for your next role. It allows you to create an action plan to address the gaps between necessary skills, education, or certification that will make you a better candidate.

Fill gaps to make yourself the most marketable candidate.


Begin the gap analysis by researching job responsibilities, required skills, and the level of training, education, or certification required. The best resources for job requirements are:

  • Job Descriptions – collect them and find similarities

  • Occupational Position Distillers – such as O*NET, CareerOneStop, and Career Outlook

  • Informational Interviews – talk with people in a similar role or with recruiters and HR staff

Throughout your research, consider current and future competencies and skill sets to analyze:

  • The responsibilities of this position now and in the future

  • The specific tasks required in this and future roles

  • Current and future technical and industry knowledge, skills, abilities, and qualifications

  • The requirements for specialized education, training, or certifications

Organize the final details into competencies (see next page) to define how your skills compare.


Once you research all the requirements of your next role, you need to sort them into competencies (see table page). Think of competencies as categories for a set of skills or expectations of a job. Examples of competencies include:

  • Interpersonal

  • Organizational

  • Leadership

  • Technical

Industry expertise, education, and training gaps should also be part of your assessment. Using job descriptions, online research, and your informational interviews, create a summary of the requirements for degrees, industry experience, and certifications.

Once you’ve organized your research into competencies and requirements, you can use a table like the one on the following page to compare your toolbox with the skills needed to be a successful candidate for the position.


Using the competency and toolbox assessment table, determine the essential areas to focus your development. Identify the competencies with the most extensive skill gaps and prioritize them by their level of importance to the prospective employer.

If you can, a discussion with a hiring manager, recruiter, or someone in a similar role will help you order your development plan. Your early informational interviews may have already provided you with these focal points. Now, you should have a good understanding of the steps you need to create a development plan.


If you’re looking internally or externally for that next great position, the process of setting specific developmental goals can help you get there. If you feel stuck in your current job or are unemployed, a developmental action plan will keep you motivated and resilient as you work toward a final goal.

When designing your action plan, remember to augment your growth through an assortment of educational options, including:

  • Training through professional and alumni associations and mentoring programs

  • Degrees, online courses, and certifications

  • Personal growth through topical reading, conferences, industry publications, and more

To keep yourself organized and on track, build a developmental action plan table like the one above. You should check your plan a minimum of every two weeks. An effective action plan includes a summary of the: (1) Gap Item; (2) Actions; (3) Timing; and (4) Status of your plan to ensure success.

Investing time to do a gap analysis regularly is a powerful way to continue growing your career, now and into the future.


As a certified career coach, Hillary guides extraordinary people and their personal brands. She's a career solutionista that helps clients discover their unique worth to find new employment, pivot industries, or move toward cause-oriented work. When Hillary's not busy coaching amazing people, she rides bikes, learns about wine, cooks for friends, and travels globally with her family. Find out more and sign up for her newsletter at www.careersolutionista.com.

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