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What are Your Transferable Skills?

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 1 Aug 2011 | comments*Discuss
Transferable Skills It Business

Just because you don’t have direct experience of what is written in a precise job description, doesn’t mean that you wouldn't excel in the role. People are often put off from applying for a new job that would give them the career change they dream of, just because they don’t exactly match the credentials in the advert. Women, especially, are more likely not to apply for a job because they don’t have one or two of the eight skills requested in the advert, so they’re missing out on a potentially rewarding career because of a Lack Of Confidence.

This questionnaire will help you to appreciate more about your transferable skills, so that next time an exciting job advert catches your eye, you’ll think ‘I’ll give it a go’, rather than turn the page and go back to working at that job that really doesn’t interest you anymore.

Read the following questions and pick the answer that best describes you, then see how transferable your skills are and what you do to boost your options.

How Good are Your IT Skills?

You don’t have to be an online geek to have at least passable IT skills. While there are very few jobs that have no IT element to them any more, even if it’s just sending the odd email, you can learn as you go along as long as you have the basics. Although maybe don’t go applying for IT guru jobs if you’ve not yet mastered switching on the laptop.

  1. I can get by with email and online shopping, but I’m no IT whiz.
  2. I’m pretty good with internet research and I’ve completed a few PowerPoint presentations and excel spreadsheets in my time.
  3. I’ve created a wireless home network for my laptop and PC.

How Good are Your Organisational Skills?

Too many people think that organisational skills in the workplace are the only ones that count. Full-time mums looking to return to work, or office managers wanting a career change are often the worst at realising just how transferable their organisational skills are.

  1. I manage the home diary of my three kids and my husband, all with clubs, parties and meetings to attend at various times throughout the week.
  2. In my job as office manager, I arrange the diaries of two partners.
  3. I’m a conference organiser and regularly arrange events for over two hundred people.

How Good are your Business Development Skills?

Business development is increasingly evident in a whole raft of jobs now, especially as the global economic downturn has focused people’s minds on winning as much business as possible. You don’t have to have been a sales manager to have learnt business development skills, though, so look at the following options and see which best describes you.

  1. I’ve helped the school PTA get sponsorship and free advertising for a number of events.
  2. I’m used to trying to make meetings for my colleagues on the phone and I’m careful to pass on any leads I come across.
  3. I’m the regional manager for a retail company and I’ve brought in millions of pounds of new business through Networking and business development.

How Transferable are Your Skills?

If you answered mainly 1), you need to make sure Your CV is presenting your skills in the best way possible. Don’t just rely on your past employment or your CV won’t show just how experienced you are in the real world.

If you answered mainly 2), you’re a long way to having a very desirable skill set that can be used in a range of new career options. Just make sure you don’t make your CV look too ‘job specific’ by writing a personal profile that highlights your transferable skills.

If you answered mainly 3), you are almost super-human. Many companies will be keen to have you on board, even if you haven’t directly worked in their sector before. Be confident when you apply for jobs that will bring you the career change you deserve.

Further Reading

Understanding your skills and strengths can help to increase your chances of making a successful career change. To find out more read our article How To Identify Your Transferable Job Skills.

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