When starting out in your portfolio career, it’s tempting to take every opportunity that comes your way, just to ensure a steady income stream.
But is that really the best use of your time and efforts? Chances are, if you take on every project that comes your way, you’ll inevitably end up taking on projects that don’t make the most of your skills and interests. Given that your most recent projects are what is most likely to lead to your next opportunity, it’s important to ensure you keep focused on work that makes the most of your key competencies.
By defining your core competencies and actively going after projects and roles that make the most of them, you will:
- develop expertise in the areas that matter the most to your customers.
- have a path for developing your skills in support of reaching your business goals
Identifying your core competencies
What are core competencies?
Let’s start by defining what a core competency is in a business setting. A core competency is a specific factor that is central to the way a company and its employees work. It must fulfill three key criteria:
- It is difficult for competitors to imitate.
- It can be applied widely across many products and markets.
- It contributes to the end consumer’s experienced benefits.
Taking this into a real-life example, if you are a social media consultant, your core competencies might look like the above illustration. You’ll note that these competencies fall into three buckets: functional (which includes unique technical expertise), personal (the areas in which you excel), and leadership (how your competencies interact with managing others.)
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