Top 10 Transferable Skills in Today’s Job Market
By Cecelia Bocker
Recently, Access Staffing attended an event in which the panel of speakers was comprised of five women in leadership roles from different industries. While each woman left us feeling inspired after her speech, we were surprised by two women in particular. These two women, both CIOs of major global corporations, did not have degrees in the field that they are currently employed in. One woman did not have a degree at all.
It’s common to get in a mindset of having to stick to one industry after you spent time and money getting a degree, or learning hands on in the field, but what these women showed us is that does not have to be the case. Everyone’s goal after college seems to be to get a job in their “field”, but let’s say after two years of working full time you hate the industry. Now what?
This is where “transferable skills” come into play. Transferable skills are tools and skills you learn while working in one industry that can be just as useful, if not essential, across other fields as well.
Check out our list of top transferable skills below:
1. Leadership – The ability to take charge of a project or team means you are able to recognize a person’s particular strengths and weaknesses, which also means allocating resources properly. Only a handful of employees will be promoted through the ranks of a company, leadership will be the first skill that causes a person to stand out as “management material”. Step up and take the lead on a project at your current job so you can add leadership experience to your resume.
2. Organization – This is a skill you should have through all walks of life, not just for work. Being organized helps you stay on top of your tasks, complete projects ahead of deadlines and also helps to alleviate stress.
3. Prioritization – In today’s world, where everyone is going a million miles per minute and we are surrounded by constant distractions (our phones, social media, friends, family, etc.), the ability to prioritize is key. There will be days when you might feel completely swamped and beaten down by work and your personal life. The ability to push past all of that, look at the big picture and focus on what needs to be done first and foremost is a skill not many people have these days.
4. Communication – With today’s technology, almost anything can be accomplished through a device without ever having to interact with another person. While this is great when you want to order food directly to your house instead of going out, you want to self-diagnose what illness you might have as opposed to seeing a doctor, or you want your food shopping done without leaving the couch, people today are losing the ability to speak to and work with one another. The ability to work together, collectively brainstorm and talk things out is highly valued in business nowadays.
5. Time Management – “Time is money”. We’ve all heard this phrase throughout the years, but it is truer in today’s society than ever before. If you are wasting your time at work texting, scrolling on social media or shopping on Amazon, eventually your deadlines will catch up with you. While you might not get directly reprimanded for this, your work could appear rushed or show mistakes. At the very least, you will be stressing yourself by trying to meet your due dates after wasting precious work time.
6. Technological Understanding – Technology is the future, it’s that simple. The younger generations are growing up with advanced technology which means in order for the older generations to competitively stay in the workforce, we need to brush up on the latest technology and become well versed in its abilities and uses.
7. Creativity – Gone are the days of seeing things in black and white. Today, everyone is trying to stand out from the competition. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box a little, chances are it will get you noticed.
8. Public Speaking – Similar to what we said about the ability to communicate going downhill, public speaking is another rare skill that can be used across industries these days. While many people get nervous speaking in front of a crowd, the ability to do it gives you an appearance of someone who is confident in both themselves, as well as the material you are speaking about.
9. Conflict Management – While we don’t recommend you insert yourself into every heated debate or fight in hopes of gaining this skill, the ability to calmly diffuse a situation and come to an agreement that works for both parties is highly sought after.
10. Critical Thinking – This is the ability to identify the problem, find possible solutions, and make an educated decision about how to go about solving the issue. This skill requires you to step back from the immediate problem, consider all pros and cons of a potential path and then allocate employees and resources properly. This is a key skill for managers, directors and C-level executives.
Of course, these are not the only transferable skills in today’s business world (and we know experiences and hard skills will always be a factor when landing a job), but if you are considering switching industries brush up on some of the skills mentioned above before your interview, we guarantee you’ll stand out from the competition.
Have you ever successfully switched industries and found some of these skills to be useful? Let us know! We love success stories.
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