Transferable Skills? What are they, some examples, and why they matter for your career success.

career Jun 07, 2023
Female hands with a blurred background holding two puzzle pieces mid air.

Your Transferable skills and career success

Transferable skills are a versatile set of abilities, developed throughout your career and acquired through various experiences in your personal and professional life.

Transferable Skills - defined?

Transferable skills, are often referred to as 'portable', as they are moveable (if that is a word) between, across, and within functions. In fact, they are best defined as the specific skills that remain untethered to specific job titles, roles, and industries.

In essence, transferable skills showcase your aptitude to adjust your professional outlook, manage complex challenges, and strategize as you move within or between jobs, roles, and/or industries. The beauty is that as you do you consistently add value in diverse organisational environments.

This perspective helps you realise that your job title doesn't define your abilities; rather, it's your capacity to apply your expertise in a variety of contexts that matter. It might be related, or indeed unrelated, to your previous job title.

Most Employable Transferable Skills

Certain transferable skills are more sought-after by employers. Such skills are in high demand as they are the required to keep business functioning and evolving.  The most sought after include the ability to problem-solve, to communicate with clarity and empathy, to see leadership as more than management, alongside the ability to collaborate across organisational functions.

Motivation and self-awareness are growing in demand across all sectors as many organisations expect you to engage in self-reflection as a tool to grow personally and professionally. Combine these transferable skills with a knack for creativity, innovation, and curiosity, and you've got a powerful in demand portfolio.

If you have yet to read our article on human skills not soft skills then this is the link.

Likely you will notice there's no mention of the technical skills traditionally associated with success in specific jobs, roles, and titles. The reality is organisations expect that you have the technical qualifications to do the job and as you mature in your career that you curate a strong set of readily transferable skills. This is especially crucial as you move up the career ladder and transition from managing to leading, and from doing to delegating. At this point, your transferable skills profile becomes a necessary element in your continued professional success.

Pause for 60 - Reflecting on Transferable Skills

Remember Pause for 60 is a conscious moment of reflection - on this occasion you are focusing on the information you've just read. As you Pause for 60, consider the following questions:

  • How have my transferable skills impacted my career trajectory, so far?
  • Which transferable skills can help me advance in my career, aligning with my core values?
  • What's my plan for developing these skills?

Allocate  time each week  (we suggest Tactical Thursday) to check your progress and identify areas that need your attention. Remember, building and crafting your transferable skills profile is a journey - one dreaming big and taking small, consistent steps bring value.

Remember, change is a process, not an event, so give yourself the time and space to develop your transferable skills.

Further reading:

Future of Jobs 2023 Skills Report

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