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What can I do?

What competencies do I have?

What competencies have you acquired throughout your education? And through life in general? It is important to be able to put these things into words, e.g. when you are looking for a job or internship. But how do you find out and explain it to a company? And how is problem-based learning a competency?

What can I do?

What competencies do I have?

What competencies have you acquired throughout your education? And through life in general? It is important to be able to put these things into words, e.g. when you are looking for a job or internship. But how do you find out and explain it to a company? And how is problem-based learning a competency?

The model shows 3 types of competencies - professional, personal and academic - surrounded by the context
As a student, you are a mix of 3 types of competencies: Professional, personal and academic. Note that your competencies only make sense in a context - e.g. in the specific company where you are applying for a job.

What are competencies?

A competency is your use of your learning. You get them from your experiences - both in and outside school. But they don't appear out of nowhere.

Your competencies are a combination of your knowledge, skills (e.g. analytical skills), professional insight and the tools you have learned to use within a specific area.

It is therefore a term for a skill that you can use in a specific context.

The word you choose to describe your skill is situational. The same competency can be called something different, depending on who needs to know that you can offer exactly that competency in that context.

3 types of competencies

There is a lot of different types of competencies. We divide them into 3:

General academic competencies

Your general academic competencies can e.g. be skills such as:
- Project planning
- Problem analysis
- Organisation and planning of studies
- Data collection and processing

These are things that are not specific for your line of study, but still are very important competencies to possess.

Professional competencies

Your professional specialist skills are the ones that relate directly to your line of study and are subject specific.

”Subject specific” is difficult to define because skills can be professional when they are used in a professional context. However, it might also be that you are really skilled at coding, even though it is something that you have been studying in your spare time. It is still a technical skill if it can be used in a professional setting.

Personal competencies

Personal skills are a bit less tangible category.

Your personal skills demonstrate something about:
- How you act as a colleague
- How you prefer to work
- What drives you
- ”Who you are”

Depending on where you can apply them, they can, e.g., change from being personal to being professional competencies. E.g., "creativity" can be a personal competency, but it becomes a professional competency when you put it in a professional context.

The most important thing is that you yourself always are clear about what you mean by the competencies you highlight and how you can use them. You must therefore attach your competencies to examples, e.g. where you have used them or would like to use them.


Find your own skills - 3 concrete ideas

There are many ways to discover your own competencies. Here are 3 ideas to get you started:


The online course helps you understand your competencies

In the e-learning course, you can e.g. learn how to identify your competencies and make them concrete.

Read about the online course about job and career

Here's one more thing you can do!

Problem based learning is a competency

"Project-oriented problem-based learning", "the Aalborg-model", "PBL" – it goes by many names, and it's key to studying at AAU. It makes group work possible. It implies project work. It requires a problem formulation.

But what are the actual advantages of working with it? And what does it mean in a career context?

If you're new at AAU and think that PBL is hard, it's normal! A lot of students find it challenging - both international and Danish. But it will be easier in time. And it's a great thing to know when you enter the job market!

Problem-based learning – what does it mean career-wise?

Discover your competencies from an innovative angle

Each semester, you have the opportunity to attend four entrepreneurship workshops that enrich your professional profile and provide you with sought-after skills and competencies for the job market. These workshops help you cultivate proactivity, idea generation, and clear communication while learning how to translate your competencies into value for both yourself and others.

The themes of the four workshops are interconnected, meaning that even if you participate in only one or two, you will still be introduced to the key aspects covered in all the workshops.

What do I learn at the four workshops?


How can I use it “in the real world”?
Exemplarity is an important part of PBL, yet it is a concept that is not particularly well known.
It means:
What you learn in one setting should be able to be applied in other, different settings.
It entails:
When you work with something, ideally you should be able to see another relevant use of, e.g., the methods or theories.
It requires:
Think about where you will be able to apply the knowledge you gain. It is often surprising other contexts in which things make sense. If the tools and your knowledge are so subject-specific that you cannot spot another relevant context, think about what makes it so specific and what could to make it more widely applicable.
Use it "in the real world":
Instead of seeing the differences in things, AAU students can see the similarities – even if they may not be obvious. Many topics contain parts of other topics.
Let's illustrate it with the banana-lemon model:
What are the differences between a lemon and a banana? One is sour while the other is sweeter. One is a bit mushy and the other is juicy. Now focus on the similarities. They are both yellow, fruits, contain vitamins and can be used in a smoothie or dessert.
Here's how you do it:
Keep that same focus when you think about the things you've learned and the experiences you've had. Although you may not have worked specifically with a certain theme, you may have worked with something that has something in common with it. Most things are tangled up in some way.

You need to identify the similarities and be aware of the differences.
The banana-lemon model: Try to find similarities between what you have learned at AAU and what you now have to do "in the real world".

Get a guidance session with AAU Career

Throughout your time as a student at AAU, you can get free career guidance on everything to do with your career. You may be in doubt about what you can do with your education, how you can put your competencies into words, or perhaps you need professional eyes on your CV.

Contact the career counsellors and have a chat about exactly what you need.