A skill is a talent or ability, which becomes ‘transferable’ when it is of interest to others. And it becomes an ‘employability’ skill when it is of particular value in the workplace.
Example: Tennis demonstrates certain skills which are valued by sports coaches. However, many of these can be called ‘transferable’ because they are also of value to the construction industry, the performing arts and other sectors. These transferable skills include:
- hand-eye co-ordination
- quick thinking
The skills that you already have can be categorised as:
- Hard skills – e.g. IT skills / professional qualifications / relevant experience
- Soft skills – e.g. social skills / inter-personal skills / people skills
- Employability skills – usually a mix of hard and soft skills valued by employers in general
The skills you have will be ‘transferable’ if they are of interest to the organisation that you are applying to, for example:
- People skills – e.g. leadership / communication / customer service / teamwork
- Personal skills – e.g. initiative / commitment / accountability / organisational
- Practical skills – e.g. manual dexterity / driving / repairing / finishing
- General skills – e.g. presentation / flexibility / IT skills / problem solving
- Specialist skills – e.g. professional qualification / technical skills
The website for almost any organisation invariably mentions the skills which they value. Examples of some of the sought-after skills by individual employers / Unis include:
- ability to succeed
- critical analysis
- inter-personal skills
- a listener
One of the best ways to promote yourself at Interview or in a Personal Statement, CV, or Application is to match your skills with those valued by the recruiter – and with examples to evidence your skillset. If you have got it right, this will make your skills ‘transferable’.
You acquire skills from a number of sources, such as:
- outside school – volunteering / work experience / part-time job / activities with others
- in school – volunteering / extra-curricular activities / EPQ / theatrical productions
- existing skills – hobbies / interests / bi-lingual / helping out at home
- challenges – overcoming short or long term problems helps to develop skills
But if you need to acquire more skills before you are ready to apply for a particular course or vacancy, why not also take a look around Careersnearhere.com. You should be able to gather many new skills from the local opportunities advertised on the Inspiration and/or Experience noticeboards in the relevant career sectors.
You can accumulate an arsenal of general skills, but to make them ‘transferable’ you will need to identify which ones are of value to the Uni/employer that you want to apply to.
To turn one of your general skills into a highly valued transferable skill, you just need to:
- understand which skills you’ve already got
- research what the recruiting Uni/employer values as important
- match your relevant skill(s) appropriately in your application (with evidence!) – this makes them transferable
If you are struggling to match your skills with the ones they value, either (a) don’t apply or (b) look for ways to develop the missing skills (see Where?): it will depend on you as an individual.
For example, if you are missing evidence of having the ‘leadership’ skill, but you are not a natural leader, it is probably common sense not to apply. However, if you are missing an IT qualification, you could take a class to learn the relevant skill. Take a look on the Inspiration or Multi-Sector noticeboard on Careersnearhere.com to see if there’s a short course available locally.
And remember to always try to demonstrate relevant skills with evidence in the form of an example to prove that you have that skill.
On Careersnearhere.com, why not take a look at:
- Applications, and other headings under the Tips section at the bottom of the page
- Careers Advice & Guidance Online and other headings under the Help section at the bottom of the page
- The Blog page for relevant articles to help
And take a look at YouTube and the internet for relevant videos including those by some of the major employers.
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