When you’re looking for a new job, every skill and talent you’ve acquired throughout your career can boost your chances of landing that next dream opportunity. Yet many job seekers forget to focus on highlighting and honing their transferable skills.
Transferable skills are the soft skills you can take from one job to the next. They can come from anywhere, like previous jobs, classes you’ve taken, or volunteer experiences. So what makes transferable skills unique? They’re used across industries and in multiple fields so it can make all the difference if you’re transitioning to a new career path.
When searching for a new job, identifying and articulating your transferable skills can better demonstrate your value to a potential employer — especially if you’re applying for a position in a new field or industry. Here are five of the most sought-after transferable skills that can help you land your dream role.
#1. Time Management
Don’t take the power of good time management for granted. If you’re great at prioritizing tasks and meeting deadlines, employers will want to know that. In an interview setting, provide examples of times you handled a heavy workload with shifting priorities, or how you were able to expertly budget your time. It could make the difference between you and another candidate.
Time management can also break down into more specific skills like multitasking, scheduling, prioritizing, organization, and utilization of task management platforms.
Workplace tools are a great way to help develop your time management skills. According to a study performed by Development Academy, 82% of people do not utilize a time management system and either use their email inbox or nothing at all to stay organized. Applications like Trello, ClickUp, and Asana are just three examples of the many project and task management tools available. These applications have become ingrained in workplace culture and are often used as collaboration systems; having an understanding of these platforms could put you at the top of the resume pile.
Verbal and written communication is standard, but you should also work on refining your listening skills to better understand your coworkers and the goals set forth by management. Being able to interpret messages and provide productive feedback will increase overall productivity and create better information sharing. Electronic communication skills are even more relevant in today’s digital age. Knowing how to use Outlook, Gmail, or other email service providers is usually expected in office environments, but a solid understanding of different forms of media and how they can affect your audience and message is also important.
In an interview, talk about your preferred communication style, your favorite way to check in with your teams, and how you’ve been able to positively receive feedback.
#3. Problem Solving
Identifying a problem is one thing. Finding the cause of the problem and implementing a solution to fix it is another. Employers notice and appreciate when a candidate sees inefficiencies in a process and offers creative solutions. Problem-solving skills can be further broken down into critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and can even include the skill of adaptability.
Candidates stand out to hiring managers when they prove they work well in times of stress or change, whether the office is migrating to new software or a new obstacle needs to be taken into consideration on a project.
In an interview, discuss a time when you stepped up to the plate to solve a problem, and how you came to find a solution. Problem-solving skills are also reflected in the manner in which you handle adversity, so mention your go-to mitigators in times of stress.
Being on a team and being an active team member are two very different things. A good team player helps their team succeed by actively striving to reach group goals and providing positive contributions to projects. Understanding team dynamics means you work respectfully with others regardless of title, job responsibilities, or specializations. You understand that the success of the team comes before the success of the individual and you accept tasks not because it makes you look good alone, but because it helps the team.
If this is where you excel – let it shine in an interview! Tell stories of how you celebrated the success of a team member, or when you completed a project thanks to the strength of your teammates. You can also discuss your preferred way to collaborate cross-functionally or team structures that have worked well for you in the past.
Some people are born natural leaders, but leadership skills can also be honed through hard work and dedication. Leadership, in essence, is the most complex transferable skill because it is a combination of all other transferable skills. Supervising and managing a team are not the only abilities involved in a set of leadership skills. Leaders inspire others to think, learn, and do more, which generates a team that functions smoothly and performs as a cohesive unit. Thinking creatively and being adept at multitasking, both transferable skills in their own right, enable a leader to craft a blueprint for successful projects in ways that others may not have thought of.
If you’ve never led a team in a professional setting, but lead your volunteer group or take on a leadership role in other settings – that counts! Feel free to discuss this in an interview, especially if you feel it’s time for you to move up in your career. You can use examples to prove you’re ready to lead a team, even if you’ve yet to have the opportunity.
So, what transferable skills do you already have?
How can you find out what transferable skills you already have? What about skills you would like to develop further?
Write down some accomplishments from your past experiences and identify what skills you have already gained. For instance, if you worked as a camp counselor, you showed leadership, listening, and communication skills. If you participated in a competitive environment with a team, you demonstrated conflict resolution abilities and collaborative skills.
Next, take a look at the job description of a role you are looking to apply to. Take note of the skills mentioned in the description and how many you already possess. Then, identify the skills you may want to fine-tune to present as a stronger candidate. There are many more transferable skills to consider, beyond what we’ve listed here. Get creative and keep in mind that soft skills can often be broken down into further specifics.
If you’re seeking your next dream job, we can help identify your transferable skills and match you with roles in your wheelhouse. Whether you are networking, refining your resume, or preparing for an interview, understanding and articulating your transferable skills can brighten your professional horizons.