How Long Is Your Transferable Skills List?
The employment market is competitive, yes? It seems like there are too many job-seekers and not enough job openings? This means it’s important to have a CV or resume that stands out from the crowd, but what makes a CV stand out? Is it the number of skills listed? Perhaps. Is it the number of specialist skills listed? Perhaps, especially if it’;s a highly specialised job, in molecular biology, for example. But specialist skills aren’t enough.
Not anymore. These days employers want well-rounded employees. They want people who have good interpersonal skills – and these are the kind of skills that are transferable. This means they have value no matter what the field or the job.
How Long Is Your Transferable Skills List?
Transferable skills aren’t necessarily taught, at least not in the traditional sense. They’re usually the types of skills that you pick up as you complete your studies, or work in internships or volunteer positions, even from participating in group sports, or belonging to clubs, or from having a hobby. They’re kind of the skills you pick up from life.
Some examples of transferable skills
Binghamton University cites the 2012 National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook Survey, which lists the top 10 transferable skills that recruiters look for in job-seekers. They include:
- Decision-making and problem-solving
- Information collecting and processing
- Work planning, organisation and prioritisation.
- Data analysis.
- Technical knowledge (job-related)
- Computer savvy.
- Report creation.
- Motivation, especially when it comes to motivating others.
These are just some of the transferable skills valued by employers, others include:
- The ability to delegate (responsibly).
- Attention to detail
- Critical self-assessment and evaluation, and critical self-assessment and evaluation of others
- Time management
- Conflict resolution
- Empathy, sensitivity, and compassion
- Problem-anticipation and resolution
Assess your transferable skills
It’s not always easy to assess your transferable skills, which is why a Dawn Rosenberg McKay recommends you create a worksheet to help you nail down your exact skills. She recommends that you create a separate worksheet for each job you’ve ever had or each activity that you’ve ever participated in. For example, if you’ve been a receptionist, a bookkeeper, a payroll administrator, and a junior accountant, each job would get a new worksheet. If you’ve collected stamps, been on the tennis club committee, and raised funds for your church, all those get separate worksheets, too.
The worksheet should be divided into three columns: Tasks, Skills, and Skill Level. List all of the tasks that accompanied each job or activity, the skills each task required, and your assessment of your skills level on a scale of 1 – 3 (or 1 – 5, depending on how far you want to break it down): One being highly skilled and three being in need of improvement.
She recommends that you tick the skills you enjoy, then compile a list of the skills you enjoy and which you are good at, followed by a list of skills you enjoy but are only okay at, and then a list of skills you enjoy but which need improvement. You can then choose to improve upon some of the skills if you so wish.
The idea is that you have a handy list of skills that you’re good at, which you can fit to various jobs that grab your interest when yoursquo;re job-hunting. In an article on CareerBuilder, Kevin Donlin recommends that when you find a job you fancy, you identify the three most important skills that the job requires, and then consult your list to see if anything you’ve done could qualify. Then you can highlight these in your application. In the same article Jamie Yasko-Mangum recommends that you organise your CV by skills area, so the most relevant information is right upfront where it can’t be missed.
No one is saying that transferable skills trump qualifications or experience, but having a diverse set of skills acquired from every aspect of your life can certainly help you stand out in an inbox flooded with resumes.
Jemima Winslow has some gaps in her CV that shersquo;s not ashamed of, but which she knows could count against her in the competitive international job market. Thatrsquo;s why she likes the idea of transferable skills that she can take from one country to another, as she hones her CV and scours international job boards, like Skilledmigrantjobs.com