Transferable skills are the skills you’ve gathered through various jobs, volunteer work, hobbies, sports or other life experiences that can be used in your new career. In addition to being useful to career changers, transferable skills are also important to those who are facing a, new graduates who are looking for their first job and to those re-entering the workforce after an extended absence.
Formal job descriptions are often very different from reality. That is why it’s important to dissect each job you’ve held in order to discover what skills you actually used to do that job. If you are re-entering the workforce or entering it for the first time you’ll have to look at your life experiences to get this information.
How portable is your skill set? Skills can be acquired in a variety of settings. As a student, you develop technical skills related to your major. In addition, you work in teams on class projects or take on leadership positions in a student organisation.
As an intern, you begin to build your professional portfolio as you help your employers solve problems and meet customer needs.
Make a list of your experiences both on- and off-campus and develop an inventory of skills. To be successful in the job search, you must relate your skill set to the job description and support it with accomplishments.There are three major competencies that all organisations seek: communication, problem solving and teamwork.
Communication Skills: This includes writing, speaking and interpersonal skills. An ‘ideal candidate’ has the ability to articulate their ideas in an organised and concise format. Platform skills will also contribute to your success in the hiring process.
How often have you spoken in front of a group or class? Can you be persuasive in your presentation of a concept? Finally, employers are looking for someone who is engaging and enthusiastic. Your ability to connect with others as well as with the recruiter demonstrates your interpersonal skill set.
Problem Solving/Analytical Skills: Most employers derive revenue by solving problems for their clients. In recruiting for entry level positions, organisations are tapping into a new and fresh resource for creative solutions. This is where you can highlight your research experience. It is also an opportunity to describe how you go about making a decision.
Teamwork: Becoming skilled at sharing responsibility and work with others may be the most important thing you can do to add to your value. What role have you played on teams? Use examples of classroom group projects, sports teams, internships, and student organisations. What are the elements that contributed to team success? What did you learn when you failed as a team? Why do some teams succeed and others fail? This is not about building your resume to include participation in 30 odd organisations, but about demonstrating effectiveness and results as a member of a functional team.
Employers also consider the following skill subset when reviewing resumes and interviewing prospective employees.
Utilise this transferable skill concept to demonstrate how your experience matches what the employer is seeking.
Key transferable skills
Ability to delegate
Ability to plan
Customer service oriented
Increase sales or efficiency
Desire to learn and improve
Good time management