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7 Transferable Skills

24 Mar 2020

While each role/industry does require a specific skill set, there are skills that are transferable across all sectors.

In a time of uncertainty where many people across different sectors have been laid off, it can be hard to stay calm when you’re wondering if you’re going to find another job while your sector has suffered mass redundancies. However, there are still jobs available and while it can be initially daunting and it’s easy to be discouraged by lack of jobs in your particular sector, just remember that you possess a number of skills that are transferable to other sectors.

In every job advert, there is always a list of “essentials”. Quite often these adverts are drawn up by line managers in conjunction with their HR department but in many cases, this is a wish-list of the perfect candidate and unfortunately sometimes serves to put the best person off even applying for the job.

While each role and industry does require a specific skill set, there are skills that are both transferable and hugely valued in every role regardless of the profession. It is important however to qualify to the potential employer how your skills can transfer, don’t expect them to suddenly understand all of your softer and therefore more transferable skills. It is up to you to show your understanding of the role and where you can point to your transferable skill as being useful.

You’ll therefore need to establish 2 key facts:

  • You have the skill you claim
  • You show how you can apply that skill to the new role and/or industry.

So just what are the 7 key skills that are transferable to every industry?

  1. Inter-personal skills
  2. Communication skills
  3. Organisational skills
  4. Problem solving
  5. Creativity
  6. Adaptability
  7. Time Management

1. Inter-personal skills are vital in every job but often overlooked in the interview process. It’s the ability to get on with people and the ability to work in teams. Working with people be it colleagues or clients demands a high level of inter-personal skills. Being intuitive, having empathy with people and being able to deal with people on a daily basis while building client relationships is vital in any role.

2. Communication skills are also often overlooked in the interview process but are incredibly important. Whether oral or written, the ability to communicate in a clear and concise manner and engage your audience is of huge value in any role but in particular customer-facing ones.

3. Organisational skills – these are highly valued but highly under-rated skills. Being able to focus on tasks, find files / numbers / stock easily are all skills that are needed at any time but especially in a crisis. Having information to hand or at the very least knowing where to find that information is invaluable.

4. Problem solving – this is your ability to handle difficult situations. Employers love people who can assess a situation, analyse the challenges and main priorities and then come up with a solution, particularly when it’s in a calm manner. Problem solving skills do involve other skills such as communication, active listening, analysis, research and decision making. It could be as simple as setting up a rota of people to answer calls, making sure there are posters for the public outlining important information or looking ahead to forecast where your business may need equipment or supplies in order to function.

5. Creativity – this isn’t about being visually creative. It’s all about being creative in your role to add value to the business, to reach out to your customer base (internal or external) in different ways to get your message across. It’s about creative thinking – developing new or unusual solutions to getting your work done in an effective manner.

6. Adaptability – this is an essential skill in modern business. Every area of business is forced to change at rapid speeds to adapt to new technology, new demands in the market or new competitors. So employees have to adapt faster and more often than ever. But this isn’t something that can be trained. Employees can be trained on new technology or take on new roles but it’s also all about attitude and the willingness to change within a role for the good of the business. Being able to adapt to the changing needs of the business is an essential skill and if you can show that you’ve demonstrated flexibility in your previous roles, this will stand you in good stead with future employers too.

7. Time Management:  Good time management skills enable employees to get tasks done in order of priority within a given deadline. The most successful people in business organise their time effectively so that they’re working smarter, not necessarily harder, in order to get everything completed on time. Cultivating time management skills ultimately means greater productivity and efficiency with considerably less stress. Giving an example in interview of where your time management skills benefited the business (eg giving you time to focus on another project or streamline a process) is key to showing how skills in one sector can be transferred to another.  

 In any job hunting process, it can be easy to be overlooked particularly when it’s in a sector in which you have no direct experience.  However, highlighting your transferable skills in a brief paragraph at the start of your cover letter / CV and expanding upon them in interview to show where you can add value to your potential employer is the key to securing you your next role.

If you would like to talk to any of the Brightwater consultants about moving jobs, please contact our offices
Dublin: + 535 1 662 1000 | Dublin@brightwater.ie
Cork: + 353 21 4221000 | Cork@brightwater.ie