What are transferable skills?
Transferable skills are the most crucial element you will use in your career search (www.quintcareers.com). They link you to the position that you are applying for. So what exactly are transferable skills and how can you use them to your advantage?
Transferable skills are “Skills you have acquired during any activity in your life – jobs, classes, projects, parenting, hobbies, sports, virtually anything, that are transferable and applicable to what you want to do in your next job” (www.quintcareers.com). In other words, they are skills that you already have that you can use in your new field of work or in the job position you are applying for.
Even though you may not realize it, you have a plethora of skills that you use daily. Parents provide direction for their children. (That’s a leadership skill!) Students use time management when setting aside time to study. (Another skill!) These are examples of skills you use every day that are transferable. Don’t forget the skills that you use at your current job as well. Just because it may be a different line of work than the position you are applying for doesn’t mean another employer will not benefit.
How do I identify my transferable skills?
When identifying your transferable skills there are 5 categories to consider. The quintcareers website names the categories as:
- Communication skills (oral and written)
- Teamwork/group/interpersonal skills
- Leadership skills
- Work-ethic traits, such as drive, stamina, effort, self-motivation, diligence, ambition, initiative, reliability, positive attitude toward work
- Logic, intelligence, proficiency in field of study
Many of these categories are used in jobs that you will be applying for. Therefore, it would be to your benefit to include the skills you possess in these categories in your cover letter and on your resume.
One way to get started in assessing your skills is to take the Career Cruising Skills Assessment. This online career guidance program is available free of charge by logging into Career Cruising with the user name Lakeland and the password Lakers. Under Explore Assessments you will need to give thought to your abilities in order to answer the assessment questions. Write these down! Having a list of your skills will come in handy during your job search process. You will need to register and from that point on use your own login to use Matchmaker and Ability Profiler. Learn more about your abilities and see how your abilities compare to those used in careers that interest you. For assistance, please call Lake Land College Career Services at 217-234-5288.
Transferable Skills Worksheet
Download the transferable skills worksheet to help you identify the skills you have used in previous positions. This will help tremendously when building bullet points for your resume. In addition, keep this worksheet in your portfolio for future reference.
How do I explain my transferable skills to an employer?
Cover letter and interviews are the best way. The goal is to show the employer that you have the skills needed to do the job. Look over your transferable skills worksheet and choose the skills that you would use in the job you are applying for. Use these when creating your cover letter to demonstrate you are qualified for the position. When preparing for an interview, practice giving examples of situations in which you used these skills.
What are some examples of transferable skills?
Do you have an idea of what transferable skills are? If not, here are some examples to help you out.
As a student, you use multi-tasking skills when balancing homework between several classes. You are able to meet deadlines when you turn a paper in on time. You conduct research for projects and papers. Additionally, you reach goals by working hard and earning the grades you want.
What if you are working at a job already but do not feel your skills will transfer to the job you want? Think again! Let’s use the example of a waitress who is applying for a secretarial position. A waitress uses multi-tasking skills by balancing the needs of several tables at once, provides customer service to her guests through conversation and handling conflicts, listens attentively as the guest requests food and beverage items and relays food orders from the guest to the cook staff. A secretary uses these skills everyday! A secretary uses multi-tasking skills when answering phones and assisting individuals in the office, customer service skills when working on the frontlines with customers to make a positive first impression, listening skills when determining customers’ and supervisors’ needs and relays information from customers to supervisors.