Sometimes referred to as soft skills, transferable skills are basic skills which can be applied to a wide range of different jobs. These skills and abilities are developed over time and through experience in a range of settings, from school, to sports clubs and hobbies, further education, voluntary work and previous job roles.
Why are Transferable Skills Important?
Transferable skills are important because they demonstrate to potential employers how you may fit into the existing team – even if you do not have experience in the sector or role that you’re applying for. This is useful for those who are looking to change careers, as these skills can highlight if you might be right for a particular role.
What are Transferable Skills?
If you think you haven’t got any transferrable skills, think again. There is a long list of recognised transferable skills, so the chances are you actually do have (at least) a few. Knowing you’ve got these skills and being able to highlight them on a CV or job application, with examples, could help you to secure a desired job, even if you haven’t got any direct experience.
Probably topping the list for many employers are:
Communication – Written and verbal, is a key skill which will benefit you in many different job roles, from entry level to senior management and beyond. Being able to effectively communicate with your colleagues and clients is a key skill you will need for almost any job, be it paid or voluntary. It is an especially useful for roles in the care sector.
Listening – Effective listening aids communication.
Time management – This is a key transferable skill. One of the best, and most obvious, ways to demonstrate this skill is to ensure you arrive to an interview in good time!
Strong work ethic – People who possess a strong work ethic will be productive, professional and potentially require less supervision from management.
Problem solving – The ability to overcome problems is another key transferable skill that employers will look for.
Teamwork – Being a good team player isn’t only something to do with sports. A good team player will work well with their colleagues, sharing tasks and supporting their team where necessary.
Prioritisation – Being able to effectively prioritise tasks is key. It will let potential employers know that you can see what needs to be done, and in the best, most effective order.
Organisation –Being ordered, systematic, neat and efficient are useful skills for any job role. If you are not a naturally organised person there are steps you can take to be more organised, for example write a daily ‘to-do’ list, tidy your desk at the end of each day, check your calendar each evening to make sure you are prepared for the following day. Get whatever you can done in advance – don’t leave things to the last minute. Being organised will also mean that you are productive and can manage your workload effectively.
Initiative – Being able to think for yourself and take action when you deem it necessary are skills useful not only in the workplace, but at home too. Leaving tasks for someone else to do if you can see it needs doing is a big no-no. Being able to demonstrate that you are able to use your initiative will make you stand out to potential employer.
Hobbies – Now, lots of people think this is just filling space on an application. If you’re looking to work in social care, this is really important. Quite often social care employers look to match staff to the people they support. For example, if someone wants to go swimming once a week, it’s not much help if the people who are supporting the individual can’t swim - so knowing a person’s interests is really helpful!
Other transferable skills are: honesty, interpersonal skills, motivation, data analysis, research, delegation, adaptability, flexibility, negotiation, and leadership skills. This is not an exhaustible list though it should serve to give you a great idea of what transferable skills you have.
Be sure to list your transferable skills on a job application or CV to give you the best chance of standing out above other applicants.