How to identify your transferable skills
Have you heard of the saying, “The shoemaker’s children go barefoot.”? This ancient proverb is about a shoemaker who was so busy looking after his customers that his wife, children, and even he went shoeless. I bring this reminder to show you that we subconsciously put ourselves at the bottom of our list. We should not neglect those around us, especially ourselves. We don’t take the time to care for ourselves or know ourselves, especially where our skills are concerned. Additionally, we are too busy being busy, and when an interview comes up, a networking event, meeting a new person, or updating our resume, some of us say, “I got this!” If that is you, that’s great. I applaud you. However, most of you will say, “I don’t know how to sell myself,” or “I will wing it.” So let’s start by defining transferable skills.
What are transferable skills?
Transferable skills are skills you can transfer from one job to another. We refer to them as hard skills and soft skills. We also define soft skills as competencies.
Your hard skills encompass your knowledge, skills, and abilities that you can prove. Think of your hard skills as what you have learned through education and training—for example, strategic analyses, project management, and business administration. Hard skills also include your character, how you present on first impression, your level of enthusiasm, and your professional presence. Here are more examples:
- Understanding the sales process
- Broad knowledge of Program Evaluation Methodology
- Experience using a spectrometer (used for measuring wavelengths of light)
- Ability to sew clothing
- Knowing how to create a financial plan
- Develop and design a website
- Speak a second language
- Mathematical expertise
- Scientific skills
- Add your own skill here
Soft skills are your abilities and talent and can include time management, communication, teamwork, and adaptability. Your soft skills can determine your success at work and who gets hired. In addition, you can see them as portable skills you can transfer from one career to another.
Suppose you’re in sales and want to transition to another career. Consider careers where you can apply hard and soft skills for transition, such as a Marketing Specialist, Corporate Strategist, Consultant, Operations Manager, Human Resources, or Business Owner.
For example, as a Marketing Specialist, you would use communication and persuasion skills and gather information and legal support through research and analytics. Or you may recognize you are ready to transition into a Manager role where you can mentor, train, and coach your team. When you prefer to focus on your team rather than the clients, you could be a Corporate Sales Trainer, supporting the people who serve the clients.
There are many other possibilities, and the first step, as always, is identifying your transferable skills.
The employment world is changing rapidly, and new jobs and careers are popping out. LinkedIn says Canadians plan to change jobs in 2023 due to economic uncertainty and high inflation rates. Furthermore, LinkedIn internal data from users over the last five years have identified 20 job titles that are the fastest-growing jobs in Canada in 2023. More and more employers are hiring based on skills.
1. Growth Marketing Manager
2. Product Operations Manager
3. Dispensary Technician
4. Technical Program Manager
5. Sustainability Manager
6. Head of Growth
7. User Experience Writer
8. Information Technology Associate
9. Site Reliability Engineer
10. Customer Success Associate
11. Valuation Analyst
12. Sales Development Representative
13. Security Engineer
14. Data Engineer
15. E-commerce Coordinator
16. Technical Product Manager
17. Cyber Security Specialist
18. Crew Scheduler
19. Medical Writer
20. Media Planner
You can find the full report of the top 20 fastest-growing jobs, salary range, and experience information here.
For most of us who entered the workforce or graduated over 20 years ago, some of these jobs did not exist. Don’t despair! You have transferable skills, especially your soft skills. Your foundational guide for work depends on regularly taking, reviewing, and adding to the inventory of your transferable skills. I have identified five necessary skills to help you recognize your soft skills and encourage you to find examples of where you have used these skills.
TOP TRANSFERABLE SKILLS OF THE FUTURE
The best way to take ownership of your career and find joy, fulfillment, and purpose in it is to reflect on your past experiences and activities on what energizes you. What have you done that gave you a sense of accomplishment? Your experience will help you secure a future career. The best way to address the rapid change in the labour market is to take ownership of your development, take inventory of your skills and find examples and evidence of them. Here are five transferable skills to get you started.
The ability to analyze information objectively and make a reasoned judgment.
Employers want job candidates who can evaluate a situation using logical thought and offer the best solution.
- A triage nurse analyzes the cases at hand and decides the order in which to treat the patients.
- A plumber evaluates the materials that would best suit a particular job.
- The attorney reviews the evidence and will devise a strategy to win a case or settle out of court.
- A manager analyzes customer feedback forms and uses this information to develop a customer service training session for employees.
Monitoring is the periodic tracking (for example, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually) of any activity’s progress, including team performance, by systematically gathering and analyzing data and information.
Coordination skills consist of various abilities and competencies focused on simultaneously planning and executing multiple activities, actions, and plans. They focus on your capacity to employ skills in attention to detail while considering how more minor elements fit into a larger project. (Not multitasking.)
- Communication (how to talk with professionals), time management, flexibility, organization (submitting detail-oriented work, delegating, small steps to complete a large project), and teamwork.
Judgment and decision-making
The ability to make sound judgments is a skill many employers look for in job candidates.
Examples: analytical thinking, decision-making, ethics
Problem-solving skills help you determine the source of a problem and find an effective solution. These skills will benefit you in every step of your career. From resume to application, interview to job duties, the ability to solve problems effectively as they arise will make you an asset as a job candidate and employee.
- Active listening, analysis, research, creativity, communication, dependability, decision-making, team building, and self-reliance.
Transferable skills inventory
To get you started, find a quiet place with paper and pen, laptop, smartphone, tablet, or whatever tool you like to use to gather information. Make sure this document will be easily accessible as your foundation and go-to document for your career development. You will use this information to update your resume, prepare for interviews, and network. There will be other categories we will add that I will address in future posts. Meanwhile, start with this next exercise that has worked for my clients in so many ways, and it only takes ten minutes! Yes, this is the beginning of the invaluable document you will fill with all the fantastic skills, experience, and value you bring to an employer.
Here are the steps to get you started:
- Find a time and place where you will be uninterrupted
- Set a timer for ten minutes
- Write down as many skills as you can for ten minutes
- Turn off the timer
- Marvel at your list
From my experience with my clients, this simple strategy gets you started in creating your inventory. It doesn’t matter how many you have on your list after ten minutes. You might have five, or you might have thirty. What matters is that you have started your list. Seeing my clients’ astonishment, excitement, and incredulity when doing this simple exercise is rewarding. Rewarding because I was able to show them that their experience matters, they can be proud of it, and they see so many possibilities and opportunities.
We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work
we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves.
It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep.
It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.
Let me know
Give it a try, and let me know about your experience in the comments below
You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear the outcome of how you did,
how you felt, and how many you got. You can schedule a call at Book Your Coffee Chat.
Until next week,
I remain your sounding board.