If you’re interested in changing careers but aren’t in a rush to go back to school, then transferable skills could be your ticket to success. In the simplest sense, transferable skills are capabilities that you can apply in roles outside of your current field, making them valuable to employers in your new industry.
Transferable skills can come in two forms. First, there are hard skills, the technical capabilities that allow you to accomplish specific kinds of tasks. Second, there are soft skills, the traits that let you function well within a workplace, navigate interpersonal relationships, and keep a handle on your workload.
Both hard and soft skills are valuable, so you want to keep them in mind moving forward. If you’re trying to determine what your transferable skills are and how to leverage them to further your career, here’s what you need to know.
Identifying Your Transferable Skills
Usually, identifying your transferable skills is simpler than you’d expect. Often, all it requires is a bit of reflection and some research, allowing you to identify potentially transferable capabilities.
Begin by thinking about your current (or more recent) role. List all of the skills and traits required to thrive in that role and work environment. Begin with your technical capabilities, as those are usually the easiest to define. Then, move on to soft skills, as those can feel more nebulous.
After that, think through the job before that one, working your way back until you’ve reflected on each position. That way, you capture your entire career.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time for research. Look up past job descriptions or vacancy announcements, reviewing details about the required skills to get insights into capabilities you likely had or earned in the role.
If you’re genuinely stuck, get online and find a skills list for your field or position, using that as a guide. For soft skills, you don’t need to get an industry-specific list. Often, soft skills are inherently transferable, so a reference from any source can potentially meet your needs.
Determining Where to Take Your Career
Once you have a solid list of transferable skills, it’s time to pick a career direction. If you have a target in mind, you can compare your skills list to what’s requested in associated job descriptions or vacancy postings. See if you bring a significant amount of what’s required to the table, using that to determine which roles may be a strong fit.
If you don’t have a current target, then see which roles or fields allow you to make the most of your existing skills. Some job boards let you do skills-based searches, which could be helpful in this case.
Speaking with a recruiter could also be wise. You can discuss why you’re looking to shift careers, which skills you’d like to use most, and what you’re trying to leave behind. That way, you can find a right-fit role.
Leveraging Your Transferable Skills
After finding the right target position, it’s time to leverage your transferable skills. Choose achievements that highlight how you can use those capabilities to bring value to an employer in a new industry, quantifying the details to make them more enticing. That way, you’ll look like a stronger candidate, even if you have no direct experience in the field.
If you’d like help changing careers, the team at GSG Talent Solutions wants to hear from you. Contact us today.