Identifying Your Transferable Skills

According to a poll in the Huffington Post, almost 80% of workers in their 20’s said they want to change careers, followed by 64% of those in their 30’s, and 54% in their 40’s. Despite most workers having career plans in earlier years, 73% said they did not land in the job they expected.

With so many people desiring a change, the ability to identify your transferable skills is crucial. Regardless of what role you currently have, there are key skills most employers want:

  • ​Meeting deadlines​
  • Solving problems
  • Organizing and managing projects
  • Managing people
  • Negotiation skills
  • Computer skills
  • Speaking in public
  • Effective writing
  • Managing budgets
  • Customer Focus
In addition to these key skills, there are other core categories that most skills fall into, such as:
  • Working with things (assembling, operating tools, repairing, driving/operating vehicles).
  • Dealing with data (analyzing, investigating, auditing, budgeting, recording, calculating, classifying, inspecting, evaluating, counting, research, detail orientation, compiling, synthesizing).
  • Working with people (instructing, demonstrating, helping, counseling, listening, persuading, supervising, coaching, understanding, interviewing, being patient, giving insight, diplomacy).
  • Working with words and ideas (public speaking, writing clearly, designing, inventing, editing).
  • Leadership skills (motivating, negotiation, decision-making, planning, delegating, directing, explaining, getting results, solving problems, taking risks, mediating problems, running meetings, having self-confidence, being competitive).
  • Artistic/Creative skills (drawing, self-expression, presenting, performing, dancing, playing instruments).
When looking at a career transition, instead of focusing on what experience you don’t have, identify the skill categories/themes the employer is looking for. Does the role require working with people and data? What skills do you have working with people and data? List them. Write out stories to prove it by presenting concrete examples. Quantify the examples where possible, include the results you experienced, and link it to the new opportunity to make the connection clear to the employer.
You may be pleasantly surprised that you have more to offer than you first thought. Take time to inventory your transferable skills and it will prepare you to create a more compelling connection to employers in both your resume and your interview performance!
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