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4.2 Recognise how skills could be transferred to different careers

 
Video – Transferable Skills
Introduction
What are transferable skills?
Taking responsibility for your skills
Exercise 1 – Transferable Skills
Exercise 2 – Transferable Skills
Exercise 3 – Using Formal Language

 

Introduction – Transferable Skills

The job market has changed in recent years. It is increasingly uncommon for individuals to remain in the same role with the same employer for the whole of their career. It is often beneficial to experience varied roles and different working environments, and it pays to be flexible and adaptable when it comes to a change in your career.

If you are changing your job direction, recognising your transferable skills can help you to move across job titles and into new industry sectors.

What are transferable skills?

Transferable skills can be specifically role-related, technical or general skills that can be put to use in a variety of jobs across a number of industries. Many employers look at more than just job titles, preferring to concentrate on a candidate’s relevant skills and experience.

Generic skills high on employers’ wish lists include IT, numeracy and languages. Other general skills include:

  • • communication;
  • • research and planning;
  • • interaction and liaison skills;
  • • organisation, management and leadership.

Taking responsibility for your skills

Andy Westwood, deputy director of policy at workplace campaigning body the Industrial Society, suggests taking responsibility for your own long-term working future. ‘Individuals need to look at their set of skills and ask, ‘what do I need to stay in work?’ It’s all about individual motivation. If, for example, someone has been working in manufacturing for a long time, they may choose to undertake some IT training. Self determination is at the heart of lifelong learning,’ he says. Many of the skills that are required by employers are also required in self-employment.

 
Exercise 1

Read the following descriptions of Anthony and Lisa’s experiences. As you read, select the transferable skills you can see in each case.

Anthony is a cashier at Walgreen’s. He rings up customer purchases, balances his drawer, and stocks inventory. Anthony works part-time, but his schedule varies from week to week. He has a perfect attendance record, and he has never been late. He is a member of a staff of 30, and he works well with other employees. Anthony has won an “Employee of the Month” award, and he helped organize the Christmas party last year.

Team Player yes no
Creative yes no
Cash handling skills yes no
Punctual yes no
Research yes no
Organizational skills yes no
Present written material yes no
Leadership skills yes no
Works with customers yes no
Delegate responsibility yes no
Flexible yes no
Good communicator yes no

Team Player yes no
Creative yes no
Cash handling skills yes no
Punctual yes no
Research yes no
Organizational skills yes no
Present written material yes no
Leadership skills yes no
Works with customers yes no
Delegate responsibility yes no
Flexible yes no
Good communicator yes no

 

Exercise 2

The next one is a little more challenging. It includes Lisa’s high school and volunteer experiences. Good Luck!

Lisa is unemployed at the moment. She has only had one job in her life, working in a Summer Program cleaning up parks and car parks. She worked on a crew of 5 people and was responsible for writing reports on the crew’s progress on each assignment. In high school, Lisa studied Accounting, and she was the captain of the Gymnastics Team. Her hobby is designing clothes. In past summers, Lisa has volunteered as a counselor at a day care center, where she coordinated the daily activities of the children.

Can work with numbers yes no
Leadership abilities yes no
Problem solving skills yes no
Punctual yes no
Good verbal communicator yes no
Team Player yes no
Organizational skills yes no
Creative yes no
Very Dependable yes no
Handle complaints yes no
Written communication skills yes no

Can work with numbers yes no
Leadership abilities yes no
Problem solving skills yes no
Punctual yes no
Good verbal communicator yes no
Team Player yes no
Organizational skills yes no
Creative yes no
Very Dependable yes no
Handle complaints yes no
Written communication skills yes no

 

Click here to download a self assessment exercise on your own transferable skills.

Rate yourself for each question. Areas where you score highly should be highlighted on your CV and in job application forms, areas where you score less highly may mean that you need to do some training to improve these transferable skills. This is a self assessment exercise and no one else will see your answers, so please answer questions as honestly as possible to gain most benefit from the exercise. Save your answers to the hard disk to keep a permanent record.

 

Using Formal Language

Using a formal style to describe your skills can help keep your CV concise and to the point. A formal style of writing shortens the amount of space you use and also highlights your skills in short and snappy sentences, some CV’s will put these skills into bullet points to better highlight their worth to prospective employers.

The left side of this worksheet has the simple way of describing some skills or characteristics. The right side has “formal language” for skills and characteristics. Match the simple phrases to the formal phrases. (The first one has been done as an example).

1. Has a good imagination; artistic A. Results-oriented
2. Gets others to do things B. Self-motivated
3. Always gets places on time C. Leader
4. Likes to investigate; likes solving puzzles D. Meets Deadlines
5. Likes to get things done E. Analytical
6. Has inner desire to do things well F. Takes initiative
7. Catches on to new things easily G. Good communication skills
8. Works well with other people H. Creative
9. Finishes work on time I. Punctual
10. Does things without being asked J. Team player
11. Speaks clearly; can get a point across K. Quick learner

1. Has a good imagination; artistic A. Results-oriented
2. Gets others to do things B. Self-motivated
3. Always gets places on time C. Leader
4. Likes to investigate; likes solving puzzles D. Meets Deadlines
5. Likes to get things done E. Analytical
6. Has inner desire to do things well F. Takes initiative
7. Catches on to new things easily G. Good communication skills
8. Works well with other people H. Creative
9. Finishes work on time I. Punctual
10. Does things without being asked J. Team player
11. Speaks clearly; can get a point across K. Quick learner

Which 5 of these transferable skills do you think would best apply to you?