2018-10-02 by Carolyn
While in training for a specific job, you tend to focus on hard skills. These are the technical requirements you must fulfill to perform in a certain position — such as coding, if you’re a budding programmer, or clinical competency if you’re a future nurse. But transferable skills help you qualify for a number of jobs on the market, across industries. For many people, these are developed outside of the workplace, through volunteer work, community leadership and family life.
It’s easy to think of transferable skills as attributes of your personality or working style that employers find desirable. For example, you may be punctual and a strong communicator who manages her time well. These are broadly appreciated regardless of industry. Some transferable skills are more important in certain settings. The ability to perform academic research or problem-solve, for example, are particularly desirable in environments that require quick responsiveness or product innovation.
If you’re new to the job market you may lean towards a focus on your training. This is important, but don’t discount what you’ve developed in terms of broader skills over the course of your education and home life. In order to get yourself thinking about your potential benefits to an employer, contemplate these broad categories:
Now, think about activities throughout your life that have allowed you to develop these kinds of skills. Perhaps you’re bilingual or contribute to a blog. These are both valuable for employers who run a multi-lingual workplace or whom require strong writers. You may have volunteered at a summer camp, balanced rearing children with running a household, or worked in your parents’ shop while growing up. This has allowed you to practice responsibility. Remember, what you do outside the workplace can have a role to play when you present your overall skill set to potential employers.
As with any set of skills, it’s crucial for employers to know how your transferable skills benefit them. Through the use of concrete examples that focus on results, you demonstrate that you bring a set of capabilities into the role that will make you a valuable part of the team.
In order to do this best, consider a resume style that focuses on aptitude. For example, under “leadership,” you could use point-form examples such as “lead high school softball team to regional championship,” or “managed a collaborative student project that won an innovation award.” Try as much as possible to give recruiters a clear picture of how you can bring success to the organization.
Often, the job market can seem too competitive for candidates with unusual career paths or whom have taken time out of the workforce. By demonstrating you not only possess valuable skills, but that you know those capacities increase your value in the marketplace. During interviews, have a concise story that expands upon each point in your resume. By projecting pride in your past accomplishments, recruiters will know you’re ready to take on the next role.
By getting a handle on your transferable skills, you’ll always have a toolbox of competencies you can use to sell yourself to an employer. You can develop those skills as your career advances, through constantly striving to do new tasks and learning on the job. That way, even if your technical skills require an upgrade, your transferable skills are there to give you a safety net on the job market.
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