If you’ve ever chatted to a recruitment consultant about changing your job or switching careers, then you’ve likely been asked about your ‘transferable skills’. You may have technical expertise that’s specific to an industry or role, and you also have more general skills that to apply across any sector and position.
What are transferable skills?
We define transferable skills as the innate abilities and knowledge that you develop and acquire throughout your life experience. Transferable skills don’t belong to a specific niche, sector or job; instead, they are general skills you apply in your everyday life - and career.
Everyone’s set of transferable skills are unique and different. Maybe you learned them in high school, through your sport, hobbies, or previous professions. They’re shaped, created and refined over time, depending on your experience and how you see, hear and feel the world around you.
Why are transferable skills so important?
Understanding, identifying and being able to articulate your transferable skills will help you land a job. When looking to grow their teams, employers look for candidates with a robust set of transferable skills. Formal training and learning remain essential, but there’s a shift towards a more well-rounded style of a candidate — someone who has the right balance of technical and general skills.
What transferable skills are in high demand?
Last year, a study from the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre of 35 million UK job ads found that creativity will become even more critical to the growth of jobs between now and 2030. Creativity isn’t a skill you study at college or university. It’s a transferable skill calling for imagination and originality that managers value in their team.
What other transferable skills topped the list of the most in-demand skills? Communication, team building and meeting deadlines. At Talent, we could add a few more. We’re seeing employers looking for a wide range of essential and relevant transferable skills including presentation skills, critical thinking, information gathering, teamwork and customer service. Thinking about your life, would you say you possess any of those abilities?
The good news: everyone has transferable skills
You may be more qualified for a job than you think. It’s just a matter of identifying your transferable skills - that something special that’s unique to you. Then, if you want to stand out in a sea of candidates, you need to include your transferable skills in your job applications.
If you’re stuck on identifying your transferable skills, here are some tips to help you work through the process:
1. Recalibrate and update
We generally spend more time updating and recalibrating our phones, tablets and laptops to the latest version than we do our list of skills. Take the time to sit down and identify your transferable skills. What skills have you developed over your life experience? Break down all your knowledge by looking at the type of activities you’ve done.
2. Write down your skills
Once you’ve identified your transferable skills, write them down either in a journal or diary. By writing your skills down, you’ll be able to reassess and update them. It’ll help you articulate your skills better to get them ready for your resume or job interview. Then, think about how you can develop these skills more – jot down some ideas on how you’ll do this.
3. Leverage your skills
Now, ask yourself how your transferable skills will help you land a job, work with colleagues and your employer? Can you provide tangible examples of how you have been able to use each skill to create positive outcomes?
It takes some practice, but you’ll be able to recall your skills and associated responses effortlessly, articulately and confidently on job interviews and in meetings. This could be the edge you need to land your next exciting role!
Make your transferable skills part of your professional brand. The more you can understand how each capability enables you to be a better candidate, the more success you will likely have in landing the job.