A lot of people I work with think that changing career, or getting a major promotion, will be hard. They feel stuck in a particular field or not qualified to move on. But career transformation is easier than you think. All you need are what’s known as transferable skills.
A transferable skill is an asset which is not limited to a specific discipline, job, or task and is useful in any work situation. Examples would include report writing, selling skills or organisational skills. These are the types of skills which we can use to position ourselves for new roles or to change careers. Transferable skills are useful because rather than limiting ourselves to what we have done previously, we can package our talents for the future. Often, we become rooted in industry jargon and this leads us to believe that we are wedded to that career. By thinking about our transferable skills, we can analyse what we have to offer future employers in different sectors.
The easiest way to identify your transferable skills is to take a list such as this (http://jobsearch.about.com/od/skills/fl/transferable-skills.htm) or any other which is freely available on the internet and highlight those skills which you have or which you use regularly in your current job. The other side of the coin is to consider which skills are valued in the field you are interested in and to check off which of them you possess. If you don’t have the requisite skills for your future career, you can start to fill the gaps.
If you’ve never considered the idea of transferable skills before, these are the key assets to acquire:
- People skills: leadership, teamwork, communication, customer skills
- Personal skills: commitment, organisation, initiative
- General skills: IT, problem solving, presentation skills
Finally, think about how you represent your skills on your CV and in interviews. Start talking in terms of generic, transferable skills to increase your market value and to facilitate your career transformation.