Transferable Skills - Your Resume and the Employer

What are transferable skills? These are the skills and abilities you possess which can be utilized in a variety of job positions.

They are especially important to individuals who are changing careers or have little work-related experience, such as college students.

Why are transferable skills important? If you do not possess a great deal of experience in the field of work you are pursuing, you will need to attract the prospective employer's attention by emphasizing the skills that you DO have which relate to the position you are interested in.

How do you determine which transferable skills you possess? Start by making a list of your part-time or full-time work experience, activities and/or hobbies, volunteer work, organizations you are affiliated with, positions or offices you hold (in various associations, committees and/or clubs) and/or sports in which you have played.

Here are two examples that will help you determine the benefit of transferable skills:

Example 1: Consider Lauren, a human resources manager, who decides to pursue a career in restaurant management. What skills would most likely be important in succeeding in both positions?

  • Communication skills
  • Budgeting
  • Forecasting
  • Leadership skills
  • Organization skills
  • Management skills, etc.
Example 2: Consider Cara, a graduate student, who worked as a retail salesperson and is now pursuing a career in meteorology. What skills are necessary in meteorology which could have been gained prior to obtaining a position in that field?

  • Conducting research
  • Forecasting
  • Communication skills
  • Math Aptitude
  • Computer literacy
  • Work well under pressure

Making a list of your job-related accomplishments and the skills you have mastered. It is important, not only when determining what to list on your resume, but also when relating your experience in an interview. Have solid examples of each of your transferable skills so that you are able to quantify your statements to a prospective employer. It is one thing to tell an employer that you are a good communicator. It is another thing entirely to be able to back that statement up with definable and/or measurable examples.

When you understand how many skills and abilities you have, you are better prepared to market yourself to employers. It's difficult to explain to others what you are capable of when you haven't taken the time to figure it out yourself. It's especially important when you have little concrete experience in a given field.

These skills could literally make the difference between you getting a call for an interview – or someone else getting that coveted phone call.

As is true with all aspects of writing a resume, each and every word on your resume should be targeted to the position you are seeking. If you are seeking a job as a computer programmer, you probably will not want to list your public speaking ability. You would, however, want to emphasize your ability to organize, plan and/or work well under pressure. Each job has certain qualifications that are best suited to it.

To be able to make these skills work for you, a significant amount of research may need to be done to determine the exact needs of the employer for the position you are interested in. Find out what is required and speak to those needs in whatever way you can.

Job duties may differ from job to job, but there are a myriad of skills needed that transfer well from one to another. Being able to identify and clearly relate those transferable skills to a prospective employer is a huge benefit to you, the job candidate.

Your skills are a vital part of your work-related experience. Make them work for YOU.

To read a List of Transferable Skills, follow this link 

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