Empowering Migrants for Employment EME



Best practices

The hands exercise – a tool to make skills and competencies visible

#tool #skillsrecognition #empowerment

The good practice in a nutshell

The hands exercise is an easy and helpful tool for making the participants’ skills and competence visible to them, for the tutors, and to the other group members as they get to know each other. The participants trace around their hand on a piece of paper, and for each finger they write one skill or thing they are good at, in any facet of their life.

Developer or user

The Finnish Catch Up with Work project in 2017–2019

Target group

Long-term unemployed immigrants and tutors/trainers

Why it is needed

The exercise can be used at the beginning of the group-building process for getting an impression of the participants and to start building their professional self-belief in a positive way. Also, it can be useful to refer back to this exercise when preparing job applications, practising pitching, and preparing for job interviews with the participants.

The exercise can be of use for their personal life but also for their professional life – e.g., for professional self-belief.


The method requires:

  • A4 paper and pencils
  • if needed, an example paper from the tutor – depending on the language skills of the group

Expected outcomes

  • The participants grow more able to see their own strengths.
  • The participants get a simple yet good and memorable tool for speaking about themselves in job-search situations.
  • The exercise has an empowering effect on the participants.
  • The tutors get to know more about the self-understanding of the participants.
  • The tutors gain an idea of the language skills of the participants.

‘Do’s and ‘don’t’s

  • Every answer is relevant, especially if the participant has low self-belief.
  • Alternatively, the exercise can be done with both hands. In that case, the participants write five qualities they want to improve on the fingers of the other hand outline.


This tool can be used in every country especially in group guidance.