Are you clear what your transferable skills are? Why are they so important?
One of the biggest challenges you will face when considering a career change is giving your CV the punch and bite it needs to make an impact in a new industry or sector. You may think that little of what you have done to date will count, but you’d be wrong. We all gain and develop a wide range of skills that can be applied in many different roles.
What is a transferable skill?
As the name suggests, a transferable skill is something that can be taken with you and applied to any new job. These are core skills that all employers value, and include:
- People skills – your ability to communicate, motivate and lead a team, or successfully coach or train people.
- Technical skills – knowledge of popular computer programmes, or more practical things like an ability to construct or repair.
- Data skills – good record keeping, detailed statistical analysis, or research skills.
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 taken elsewhere.
For example, if you are a good trainer, that skill could be used in any role – every business could do with someone who can teach others how to work better. Likewise, if you’re a good organiser, any position that requires project management is there to consider. Client or customer service skills is another example. Almost anything can be a transferable skill. It’s all about how you sell it to your prospective employer.
How to identify your transferable skills
To start with, look at job specs across a wide range of industries and see what skills they have in common. You can do this quickly and easily using one of the large job sites like Reed, Total Jobs or Monster’s job search. Review your findings against what you are doing now. Think about your working day or week and do a quick analysis of what your tasks actually involve. How many are people related? How many have to do with data or technical expertise?
This will help you focus on identifying skills you may not have even known you had. Don’t ignore things that come as second nature to you and that you don’t necessarily see as key attributes – they might be invaluable and of priceless value to a potential employer. As you go through this process, write each skill down and compare it to your findings from your job spec comparison. There’s a high chance that you will already have provable experience called for by virtually any job.
The ‘provable’ factor here is very important. It’s obviously not merely enough to say ‘I’m a great manager’ or ‘I’m really good with figures’. Make sure you identify specific achievements in your career that clearly demonstrate each of your transferable skills. By updating your CV regularly with each new success, you will improve your chances of landing the job you want when it’s time to move on.
Your CV must outline your relevant skills and that they must be upfront and clear to see. They must have key selling points. As you change your career the first task of your CV is to convince the reader why you are a better prospect than other candidates who have more relevant experience in the role or industry. Your personal profile is the ideal place to sell yourself with come clear and eye-catching statements.
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