How to Identify Transferable Work Skills

Making a career change can be a difficult decision. One obstacle that may be stopping you is the proposition of having to learn entirely new skills.

Although it is true you must be prepared to learn new skills when accepting a new job, there are some necessary skills you may already have. Those abilities, known in career circles as transferable skills, are excellent skills to list on your resumé. They can help you start out in your new career of choice and can make you more confident when changing careers.

You can be happy about the fact you learned useful skills during your previous work experience, rather than regretting your first career choice. If you are not sure which of your existing skills can be used in your new career, the best way to make that determination is to list your capabilities in organized categories. Below is information on lists you can make to help you identify transferable work skills.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Communication and interpersonal skills are useful in all types of work environments. You must be able to effectively communicate your own ideas to your co-workers and employer. It is also important to listen to what they all have to say. Communicating well can help you build trusting relationships in your workplace, improve productivity, and can even help you develop into a leader. That is why hiring managers in all career fields are likely to take notice when your resumé highlights your communication and interpersonal skills. Basic communication skills include:

  • Writing.
  • Speaking.
  • Emailing.
  • Listening.
  • Making eye contact.

Any other skills you have relating to how you interact with people are also transferable between industries. The more interpersonal skills you have, the more desirable you will be to a potential new employer. One of the most important interpersonal skills to develop is the ability to work well as a member of a team. You will also be more likely to be hired for a new position if your resumé includes experience leading a team. Other transferable interpersonal skills include:

  • The ability to resolve workplace conflicts.
  • Negotiation and customer service skills.
  • Mentoring experience.
  • Knowledge of how to delegate responsibilities effectively.
  • Absorbing and acting on constructive feedback.

Other Soft Skills

Soft skills can illustrate your personality and ability to handle pressure to your new employer. Although communication skills and teamwork capabilities are often categorized as soft skills, you may also have many other soft skills that will serve you well after a career switch. Such soft skills include:

  • Self-Management Self-management is the ability to adhere to schedules and meet your obligations with little outside direction. If you are reliable and organized, you have transferable self-management skills. .
  • Problem-SolvingProblem-solving requires the ability to stay calm under pressure. As a problem-solver, you must be capable of making and listening to suggestions.
  • CreativityCreativity can come in many forms. It generally involves the ability to examine situations from unusual angles and develop unique approaches to completing projects.

Clerical Skills

If you have clerical skills, they can help you succeed in almost any career you choose. Although primarily useful in office settings, your clerical skills can be used in a variety of locations and situations. For example, the ability to speak clearly on the phone and record accurate phone messages for co-workers or your employer will be appreciated when you work for any company. Other transferable basic clerical skills include:

  • Dataentry and note taking skills.
  • Knowledge of data processing, spreadsheets and other software used in office environments.
  • Bookkeeping skills.
  • Record management skills.

In addition to basic clerical skills, you may have extra transferable clerical skills your new employer will find attractive. For example, knowledge of desktop publishing is not required for every clerical position. However, it may be desired at the company for which you choose to work. The ability to speak multiple languages is also optional in many positions but extremely useful in many industries.

Technical Skills

Technical skills are skills involving the use of machinery, computers or electronic devices. Many technical skills can come in handy in multiple work environments, especially since most jobs require basic knowledge of technology. For example, basic computer skills are always desirable. Those skills include knowledge of:

  • Email and instant messaging communication procedures.
  • Search engine usage and research.
  • Common computer software program usage.
  • Faxing and photocopying procedures.

The technical skills you have gleaned in your previous jobs may also include equipment used in your new industry of choice as well. For example, listing knowledge of how to update computer software or repair computers on your resumé is likely to make it attractive to hiring managers in multiple industries.

Hard Skills

Unlike soft skills, hard skills are job-specific skills. Certain hard skills must be learned either during your school years or by taking training courses designed for a specific industry. Some can also be learned through practical experience you gained over the years. Many hard skills are industry-specific. For example, chefs have hard skills when it comes to cooking, developing recipes and managing a kitchen.

Although your use of some hard skills may be limited when you change careers, other hard skills are certainly transferable. For example, knowledge of money management and accounting are diverse hard skills. You can use them in retail positions, when running your own business or in banking and other industries. Examples of other potentially transferable hard skills include:

  • Mathematics.
  • Writing.
  • Translation.
  • Transcription.
  • Engineering.
  • Administration.

When changing careers, applicable hard skills you already have can be major assets. The more hard skills you can list on your resumé, the easier it will be to get a job in your desired field. The trick is to read the job description, pick out the hard skills the hiring manager is seeking that you have and include them on your resume. For example, you may have automotive and money management skills. However, only the latter need to be listed on your resumé when applying for a banking position.

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