When you’re looking to carve out a new role, change direction in your current career, or get back on the career carousel, it’s time to take stock of your transferable skills and how they can help you.
Transferable skills are like the tracks on your iPod. You take them with you wherever you go, and you shuffle those tracks to find the right one for every situation. There’s a perfect track for home, a different song for the drive to work, and the one which always gets you pumping for the gym or a run.
Some are firm favourites played every day. Others bring a smile to your face when you rediscover them.
Think of your transferable skills like that. They are talents and abilities which are relevant and helpful across different areas of life: socially, professionally, and at school. They are “portable” skills.
You already have transferable skills. You have developed them throughout your life: at school; in previous jobs; at home with your family; with friends; in voluntary work; in sport; with your hobbies and interests; at university; and in the workplace.
It’s important you can recognise, define, and articulate the transferable skills you have developed. Sometimes, that’s not easy. We all do things naturally, every day, which show how skilled we are, but we often don’t have the confidence or time to step back and truly value those skills.
It’s hard to see a “true” picture of ourselves, and we will need others help us do this.
Your transferable skills are unique to YOU. They have been built up from your life experience, family, friends, and teachers.
Think about your playlist, and about how eclectic it is, and how it’s based on upbringing, parental influence, life, history, and relationships. It’s unique.
Even if you have taken time out of the workplace, you are still building your transferable skills. As a mum you might be:
- The CEO of the household
- An expert in negotiation and conflict management
- A great communicator
- A logistical magician
- A social media guru
- A strong project manager
- A multi-tasker
- A creative genius
- A networker at school
- An accomplished and successful fundraiser
You need to communicate how you are different and how you can add value to the role. Sit down and think through all the skills you have, draw up a list. Then, take a look at your list and think about how those skills could be applied to different roles, and how much you could bring to them.
That should start to give you confidence. You have a skill-set as unique, and diverse, as your playlist.
The next step is persuading other people, would-be employers, to see that unique skill-set as a wonderful asset, which it is.
It’s important you can identify and give concrete examples of transferable skills you have developed. Take six of them, and draw up a flow chart of how you acquired them, and how they brought success to your different roles. That might be your networking expertise clinching a major sales contract, your eye for detail saving your previous employer thousands of pounds in unnecessary spending, your organisation of a fete which raised thousands for your local school’s governing board, or your creative flair in designing the programme for your local theatre group’s sell-out production.
These examples will go a long way to persuading potential employers you are right for the job.
When it comes to valuing our transferable skills and strengths, we have blind spots – so it is worth talking to previous colleagues, friends, and family. We’re also here to help you through the process.
It’s time to press play, and use those valuable skills. Call Sarah on 0333 123 0510
Sarah started her career in fmcg marketing working as a brand manager on Clover and as an interim manager on Clover (twice) and Quorn. She founded a start-up interim management company in Gloucestershire and that business changed the percentage of women and diverse talent in senior marketing and HR roles. Sarah specialises in attracting, onboarding, developing, engaging and retaining diverse talent into forward thinking businesses to improve productivity, performance and profit. Flexible working and wellbeing play a large part. Since covid-19 wreaked havoc on the job landscape, Sarah has a created an innovative programme to get senior experienced professionals back into work or fine-tune their current role so that it makes happy.