Building your transferable skills

By now, you’ve probably heard a lot about transferable skills. Yet how easily can you identify yours and do you know how to build them?

What makes a skill transferable?

The term applies to any key skill or attribute that you can carry from one job to the next.

While vital for us all, they become especially imperative for those that are…

  • Only just embarking on their career
  • Entering a new industry
  • Looking to make a major job change
  • Returning to work after a career break

Each of these groups may have to work that bit harder to demonstrate their suitability for a job role. So, rather than describing the skills gained from a recent job, they will illustrate their transferable skills gathered from elsewhere.

Example skills include:

All those personal attributes that spring to mind when highlighting the best of your abilities, including:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Perseverance
  • Project management
  • Reliability
  • Organisation
  • Budgeting
  • Record keeping
  • Research
  • IT and technical

As you can imagine, this list could become extensive and will certainly vary by individual.

Where do you develop transferable skills?

You develop these attributes over time and through a variety of professional and personal duties. For instance:

  • Your career roles to date
  • ‘Non-career’ jobs, such as part-time positions undertaken during your studies
  • Professional associations
  • Work experience placements
  • Voluntary roles
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Training courses
  • Travel
  • And caring responsibilities

Communicating your skills:

If there’s one tip that you take away from this piece, it’s this: make it relevant!

Employers want to see how closely you match the needs of their business and how well you’d ‘fit’ within their job role.

Spotted a job you want to apply for?

  1. Highlight the skills that the employer is looking for, then brainstorm all the ways that you’ve used these to date. Refer to the list above to prompt your recall.
  2. Compile specific examples to illustrate how you’ve used these skills in practice – and how you’ve used them to someone’s benefit. How has it helped your employer or voluntary organisation, colleagues, teammates, peers or personal/career development? Have these skills led to any specific achievements? Revisit our last post for more advice on how to showcase these.
  3. Weave your findings throughout your CV; include these in your personal profile, key skills summary and employment history. You can even highlight some of the most relevant skills in your cover letter or email.
  4. Finally, get in the habit of regularly reading job listings so you can quickly identify the most common key skills needed within your industry. See how you can build more of these both in and out of work.


UK faces employee performance crisis

If you take a look back over the past 12 months, how would you rate your employee performance? Are you giving your job your all, or do you know that you’re contributing far from your best?

The nation may be facing an employee performance crisis, with more than 1/4 of people knowingly underperforming at work. This particular stat comes from research conducted on more than 15,000 European and UK workers (as discussed by People Management).

Findings also reveal:

  • 1/3 of people do not feel stimulated by their job.
  • 2/5 additionally don’t believe they’re undertaking ‘meaningful’ tasks at work.
  • The UK is also falling behind the rest of Europe, where only 1/5 of employees believe they’re underperforming.

Why are employee performance levels so poor?

In addition to craving more meaningful roles, it appears that a lack of ongoing skills development may lead people to feel dissatisfied and rest on their laurels. Advanced IT training (61%) and problem-solving skills coaching (35%) are both cited as possible motivating factors to increase job satisfaction.

Of course, the individual motivators will vary by business and team. Which is why employers are also encouraged to get to the root of productivity problems within their own companies. Further advice is given in the piece.

Are professionals dreaming of other jobs?

These stats also call to mind a story shared by The Independent. There, we hear that 90% of people are not currently working in their dream job. What’s more…

  • 2/3 of employees don’t think they would be successful in achieving their ideal role.
  • Millennials represented the most optimistic survey group, with 64% thinking they could secure it within about six years.
  • The women most want to be authors (replacing the teachers of previous studies), while men hope to be ‘entrepreneurs’ (in lieu of their prior footballing aspirations).
  • People are most discouraged by a ‘fear of failure’ and/or lack of financial buffer.
  • Some simply do not know how they’d break into their target industry. Others are waiting for a different time in their life to attempt it, such as after becoming parents.

What these findings mean for you

Know that your own employee performance levels are lacking? It’s time to ask yourself why! Do you crave the chance to do a spot of training and update your skills? Are you feeling ready to leap into that long-imagined career (the one that always features in your party chat!)? There’s a good chance that you sit somewhere in-between and feel ready for that next step in your career.

If this is the case, it’s a great time to start looking at what’s out there. Employers are urgently seeking fresh skills for a variety of fantastic opportunities. You’ll find the latest jobs listed here.

To discuss your recruitment needs, please call the office on 01225 313130.