Secrets of the Job Search: Identify Your Transferable Skills

Are you interested in a career change but not sure how to convince a potential employer to give you a chance? You have experience, but it may not seem like the right kind. A transferable job skill is any ability or skill learned in the past that you can use in other work settings. Whether you’re just entering the workforce, facing layoff, or simply looking to move into a new career, identifying your transferable skills help you market yourself to a prospective employer.

What transferable skills do you possess?
Before you can market yourself to an employer, you must first identify your transferable skills. First, make a list of your past work experiences. If you have little prior work experience, list hobbies, volunteer efforts, sports activities and any other involvement with various organizations. Next, list all the skills and responsibilities you used in each experience, such as delegating responsibility as class president. Making a list will help you visualize how much you’ve accomplished in the past – and hopefully allow you to realize which skills can translate to your future career.

Categorize your job skills.
Almost all transferable skills fit into five broad skill categories, with more specific skill sets in each. The list below will help you organize and clarify your job abilities.

1. Leadership and Management – Includes managing conflicts, delegating responsibilities, coordinating tasks, and making decisions.
2. Professionalism – Day-to-day skills such as of being punctual, meeting goals, implementing decisions, and accepting responsibility.
3. Communication – Includes skills like speaking and writing effectively, interviewing, editing, and reporting information.
4. Research and Planning – Consists of setting goals, gathering information, developing evaluation strategies, and identifying problems.
5. Relational – Interpersonal skills like listening, motivating, counseling, and sharing credit

Regardless of what field you are in, from a machine operator to receptionist to a CEO, these skills carry from job to job. Identifying and organizing your transferable skills is just half of the battle. Check out the second part of this series in the next post to learn how to market your transferable job skills.

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