One of the most difficult tasks when writing a CV or preparing for an interview (even for internal jobs) is getting your transferable skills down. It’s difficult because it’s hard for us to think outside what we are used to be doing day in and day out.
What’s even more difficult, we often are not aware how these skills are practiced elsewhere. This actually means we don’t actually know which of our skills are transferable.
Fear not, dear readers, help is at hand! Below are 3 quick steps to get you on your way to a stunning list of transferable skills:
1. Start a Work task diary
Think of all the things you do on a daily basis and make a list. This may be harder than you think, because many of our daily tasks are done without us thinking about them anymore. If the list is challenging, try starting a diary as you work for a week or two. Pause every hour or two and write down what you have done and what you have achieved.
This doesn’t have to be just in your job. If you are a stay at home parent, things you do to take care of the household count as well (organising play dates, managing budgets, scheduling days, booking travel, etc.). Student life also offers a variety of tasks that can mean something in a work environment. Get your diaries going, then!
At the end of this stage you should have a good idea of the things that you do what they amount to.
2. Talk to someone who does a similar job, but in a different industry
Find someone you know (or whom your friends know) who doe similar things to you, but in a different setting. This will help you understand what you two do that is common to both practices. In other words, try to someone with a similar job description to yours, but in a company that is completely different to yours. You may want to talk to a different department in your company. If you are in a client-facing role, talk to a back office person, etc.
For people who are not at work, talk to someone (or more than one person) who has a job which includes tasks you perform and achieve similar things.
At the end of this stage you will have common themes which are your first set of transferable skills.
3. Talk to someone in the same industry, but in a different job
You may think this is counter-intuitive; after all, you are not likely to have much in common with someone who does a different job. That’s the whole point, though. The conversation here will be around what common themes you find, and these are linked to the industry within which you work or specifically to the company you work it.
If you are out of a work situation, think about one of the biggest wins you’ve had recently. Then think what sort of a job would offer a similar challenge to the people who do it. This could be a difficult conversation you had with a school teacher, or getting an extra discount. It could be managing to deliver lots of written pieces of work on time or fixing your house up for a landlord inspection.
Find someone who does this job and talk to them. This conversation will pinpoint those elusive/fluffy skills like interpersonal skills, leadership and management related skills, analytical skills and even specific technical skills you are particularly proud of. Understanding how they are used in other settings will help you understand the extent to which you use them.
At the end of this stage you will find a slightly different set of common themes – even more transferable skills.
You should have two lists: the first list is likely to include technical or hard skills, the thing you need to know how to do; the second list is likely to be things that transcend all industries and jobs. Identifying which is a technical skill and which is a transcending skills will help you focus your CV when you are applying to jobs in familiar and new industries.
You may also find that the conversations will give you ideas on how to develop your skills, which – as always, is a great thing!
Did our tips work? Did you manage to identify your transferable kills? let us know! Comment below.
If you would us to help you with your transferable skills, drop us a line.
Photo credit to J_LB via sxc.hu.