Transferable skills are abilities, knowledge and training that can be applied to many different aspects of your life and in this case, your career.
This is great news for anyone looking for a career change or your first step onto the career ladder – recognising what your transferable skills are, how you can apply them to the job you want, and how you can demonstrate them to potential new employers, is the key to your success.
It’s all about potential.
Employers are not necessarily looking for industry-relevant experience. If you can show how skills you have learnt at school, home or at previous jobs make you an excellent employee with the potential to learn the tricks of the trade through training and hard work, this can often be just as attractive.
Monster.co.uk outline the biggest transferable skills that employers look for:
“One of the biggest challenges when it comes to a career change is giving your CV the punch it needs to make an impact in a new industry,” they explain. “You may think that little of what you have done before will count, but you’d be wrong. We all pick up and develop a wide range of skills that can be applied in many different roles.”
“Think of your current role and how much of it is solely concerned with the industry you’re in now. Unless you’re a specialist working at a high level with complex information, much of what you do could easily be applied elsewhere.”
Here are Monster.co.uk’s selection of transferable skills:
People skills – such as communication and teamwork.
Management skills – the ability to manage or train others, or manage projects.
Technical skills – IT knowledge, mechanical skills, construction, etc.
Data skills – such as record keeping, maths, analysis or research skills.
Here’s how to identify your own transferable skills and stand out from the crowd, as recommended by Guardian Careers:
Make list of items in the following areas:
- The things you love doing
- The things you are good at
- Your personal qualities
- Your work experience
- Your ‘dream’ companies to work for
Next, write down how 1+ 2 + 3 + 4 are transferable to the companies you want to work for. “The idea of the exercise is to understand the organisations you are targeting and what strategic value you can offer them.” You can use your answers to write a speculative job application.
Here’s our examples of transferable skills that apply to some specific careers:
Healthcare – Compassion and empathy, listening skills, understanding of different cultures, teamwork, communication, customer service, ability to work under pressure.
Finance – communication, IT skills, integrity and sensitivity, analytical and logical skills, awareness of economics.
Journalism – written and verbal communication, research, knowledge of current events, editing and proofreading, eye for detail, multitasking, working to tight deadlines.
Marketing – communication, creativity, maths and analytical skills, negotiation, networking, teamwork, computer skills, ambition.
Catering / chef – attention to detail, creativity, love of food, decision making, ability to work under pressure, multitasking, teamwork.