Use Your Transferable Skills to Grow Your Career

The most important attribute of transferable skills is that they remain with you throughout your entire career. In fact, identifying your most marketable transferable skills can help you make your next career move.

execunetselect-transferrable-skills-conceptI’m currently writing a course for LinkedIn Learning on Job Descriptions and Interviewing Techniques to Reveal Transferable Skills for individuals involved in the hiring process. That is what motivated me to share thoughts on how your transferable skills can benefit anyone trying to advance in their career.

First, let’s start with the definition of transferable skills. They are talents, and abilities that can be used in many different jobs and career paths. They can be acquired through school, internships, prior jobs, sports, hobbies, leadership roles, military service, parenthood, and volunteer experiences. Most jobs require a combination of both hard and soft skills and the same holds true for transferable skills.

Hard skills are teachable abilities or skill sets that are easy to quantify. They are often defined as the abilities that fit a specific job. Speaking fluent Spanish is an example of a hard skill. Hard skills can be acquired in the classroom, during an online course like those offered by LinkedIn Learning, on the job, or by reading books and other training materials.

Soft skills are abilities that are not unique to a specific job, and they are more difficult to quantify or measure. An example would be strong verbal and written communication skills. What sets transferable skills apart is that they can be used in various careers. Using the examples of both hard and soft skills that I just shared, being bi-lingual Spanish and a strong communicator, would be useful in a variety of roles or occupations.

Whether someone has been in the same profession or career for decades or has changed jobs often, they have developed transferable hard and soft skills. The pandemic has forever changed the workplace and workforce. It has caused many individuals to step back and reflect on the type of work, culture, and work arrangement that would make them fulfilled. Transferrable skills can help you transition into a new career, industry, or profession.

Categories of transferrable soft skills that hiring authorities attempt to identify during your interviewing process, include communication, collaboration, problem solving, interpersonal, management, leadership, perseverance, research, planning, organizational, computer and technology, clerical and general. Companies have realized it’s not enough for an employee to only complete the technical requirements of their job. It they want to hire individuals who they can advance into leadership, they must possess the soft skills that are harder to measure, but critical to success.

According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Global Talent Trends report, 89% of recruiters say when a hire doesn’t work out, it usually comes down to a lack of soft skills. This data is even more accurate in today’s very competitive job market. In fact, many companies are putting a stronger emphasis on soft vs. hard skills. A perfect example are strong verbal and written communication skills vs. hiring someone who is more comfortable sending a text message.

If you accept a new job doing exactly what you are currently doing but for more money, you are not increasing your marketability or learning new skills. You next career move should be a stretch for you so as you are learning new things, you become an engaged and retained employee.

List the categories of transferrable skills and then list the experience you have in each of these categories. Write down what you have done and more importantly the impact your skills had on a past employer. Next, review your list of transferrable skills and determine which ones you enjoy. You may have developed both hard and soft transferable skills that you don’t necessarily want to utilize in our next opportunity.

Let’s break down one of the most desired transferable skills – problem solving. Your ability to solve problems helps you identify that there is a problem and helps you identify what caused the problem. Most importantly, problem solvers focus very quickly on possible solutions that can be implemented versus dwelling on the problem.

If you have ever solved a problem that resulted in a past employer saving time or money, those are the best examples to share. Future employers will assume that what you have achieved for your past employers, you will achieve for them. Transferable skills are important to your future employers, but they are equally important to you and the growth of your career.

When you identify and market your transferable skills, a future employer realizes that you are also adaptable and versatile. The ability to transition from one role to another using your skills proves you can adapt to change and will remain flexible in this rapidly changing job market and economy.

Business leaders are rethinking their entire working models, cultures, and company values. You are rethinking not just how you work, but “why” and “where” you work. When you change jobs, you are hoping for something more. Some examples might include: more purpose, more flexibility, more impact, or more empathy. When you want more in your next job, knowing how to identify and present your transferable skills is one of the most effective ways to achieve your career goals and objectives.

Barbara Bruno

Barbara Bruno

Barbara Bruno, author of HIGH-TECH HIGH-TOUCH RECRUITING: How To Attract And Retain The Best Talent By Improving The Candidate Experience, is an internationally recognized recruiting expert who has a proven track record of helping recruiters and talent acquisition professionals become more successful and less stressed. She has created several popular LinkedIn Learning courses and is president of Good As Gold Training, HR Search, Inc., and Happy Candidates.

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