Maximizing Transferable Skills When Changing Career

Changing career entails daunting tasks and activities that an individual needs to accomplish in order to be successful in his new chosen career. Career shift requires a lot of preparation on the part of the individual especially if the new career is very different from his previous employment experiences. 

For a shift to a career that is related to the current career, the task is a little less demanding. The good thing is, an individual possesses some transferable skills that are valuable in almost all other careers.  There are various transferable skills that an individual learns or acquires through the years, which can also be used in other fields.

Segregating trade skills from transferable skills

Transferable skills are skills than an individual learns from his current career, those that are not specific to that career. They could also be skills learned from other jobs performed in previous employments, or skills that are learned from doing other activities or interests. Communication, leadership, organizational, and planning, among others, are transferable skills that are generic in nature and are not acquired by an individual doing a specialized career.

These skills can be utilized in performing jobs required by in other jobs. Unlike other career specific skills, this kind of skills do not require certification or trade test to prove that an individual possesses such skills. Nonetheless, it is still advantageous to acquire a certificate on seminar/workshop on certain skills, and to have it available to present to prospective employers. In order to identify and segregate an individual’s transferable skill, one must trace work experiences done through the years.

Enumerate the tasks and job descriptions for each job performed in the past. A detailed job description of each job would be very helpful in doing this task. From this job description one can easily identify which of the skills that he has are transferable and which are not.

Maximizing the use of transferable skills

Once these transferable skills have been identified, the next task that an individual must do is to determine which career would require those skills to gain an advantage from competitors. Find those jobs which rely heavily on the experience gained using those transferable skills and determine if that job is well suited for the individual’s needs and wants. The individual must assess his level of competency when it comes to those skills needed by a prospective job opening.

When an individual finds a suitable career that would please his needs, then it is time to sell him to prospective employers. If the individual does not possess the technical skills required for the new career, he can sell himself off to employers by highlighting his transferable skills in his resume or during the interview process. When making a resume, one must make it a skill-based resume to enable him to highlight his transferable skills instead of his lack of technical skills. It would also be useful if he present certifications from seminar and workshops that he has attended before.

This would convince the employer that he is not telling a lie and making a false claim. Additionally, when preparing a resume that would suit the needs of the new chosen career, it would be very useful to paraphrase key phrases in the resume describing one’s transferable in such a way that suits the prerequisites of the new career. Fine-tune the resume to make the possession of the skills as not mere possession but mastery in application of the transferable skill.

With transferable skills in possession, any individual has a fair chance at landing on the job that he really wants. So, it is very important for every individual to continuously education one’s self through self-learning, continuing education programs and other avenues that would not only hone one’s area of specialization but also his general knowledge and personal development.  

Transferable skills are the most valuable part of everyone’s work experience at a certain point of whatever career they choose to work on. It could serve as a ticket to brighter future or a fall back in the event of career burnout and career re-engineering. The key is knowing how to utilize those transferable skills to an individual’s advantage.

Editorial Team at Geekinterview is a team of HR and Career Advice members led by Chandra Vennapoosa.

Editorial Team – who has written posts on Online Learning.

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