Let’s say there’s a man named Adam.
Adam works in HR, and spends his days doing on-boarding with new employees, succession planning for employees leaving the organization, as well as helping managers with ongoing talent management.
There are parts of his job he enjoys – working with people, managing large programs, being creative, but other parts he doesn’t. Mostly the red tape.
Overall, it’s time to leave.
But, Adam, is faced with a dilemma that will be familiar to many of you.
He doesn’t have experience in doing the jobs that he wants to do – his resume is completely smothered in HR.
In fact, looking at his past work history, it would appear that he is doomed to do nothing but what he’s always done. He’s going to be in HR forever. . .
Trying to decide what you should do next in your career?
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What Are Transferable Skills?
But there is hope!
Adam is not doomed because of a little thing we call transferable skills.
What are they?
Transferable skills are skills that you already have that apply in the next job.
The truth is you’re not starting the job from square one. No matter what the job is, you already have a lot of work experience, even while there might be a lot of gaps in what you don’t know.
But transferable skills emphasize what you do already know.
Creating a transferable skills list will help you land almost any job you want, but only if you use it right.
Below, I’m going to walk you through the crucial steps of doing a transferable skills list. In fact, I’m going to help you create an extraordinary one because most people leave out these critical pieces.
Doing An Extraordinary Transferable Skills Assessment
There are three different things you should do when doing a transferable skills assessment. Most people only tell you about step one, but the other two steps are equally important. Keep reading!
Transferable Skills Assessment: Step One
First, you should look at yourself overall as a person and see what skills you have that can be brought to a new job.
These things might include:
- Being organized
- Having a team approach
- An ability to be self-directed
Transferable Skills Assessment: Step Two
Second, you should think about your super-powers. What unique skills do you have that would help you stand out from other people who might also be applying for a job – people who might already have industry experience, even?
What have you accomplished in your career that is directly related to a skill you have?
These kinds of super-power skills might include things like:
- An ability to speak in public
- Being a good writer
- Having a history of meeting certain deadlines or getting specific results (because you are driven)
Transferable Skills Assessment: Step Three
Third, think about the job you’re going after – hopefully your dream job. Since it’s a job change for you, you won’t have all of the skills required.
Do a thorough assessment of what skills you do have for this particular job and the skills gaps you have.
This will help you to see what you learning you need to do, and how your skills apply directly to this job.
Just being armed with this information and being willing to do the work is evidence, for some employers, that you’re worth taking a chance on. An employee who is completely blind to what he or she doesn’t know is very difficult to manage.
Plus, in the interview you can talk about how your current skills already apply to what they need!
Leap Frogging: How Transferable Skills Help You Get (Almost) Any Job
Remember our friend Adam from before?
He’s quite a talented guy.
There’s no reason he should be rotting away in a job he’s tired of. He could be using the skills he likes to use – his project management, people and creative skills – doing something he actually wants to be doing.
And why shouldn’t you be?
A great step you can take is to create your transferable skills list as I showed you in the three steps above.
Then, you can use those skills in the same way a frog uses a lily pad to get from point A to point B.
You might have an interim job on the way to your ultimate goal, or you might be able to leapfrog with your current skills right into the job you want.
The best way to determine whether you’ll need an interim job is to figure out how large the skill gap is between the job you have now and the job you want.
If you have a huge gap in skills, it’s possible that you’ll have to take a job or at least find a way to gain some experience doing something relevant to what you want to do.
However, keep in mind that there’s a difference between a change in role and a change in industry.
What is Career Change Really? A Change in Role vs. A Change in Industry
A change in role is what most people think of when they think about a career change.
It’s the doctor turned cyber security analyst, or package delivery driver turned fine artist.
The two fields, (while they may have overlapping skills) don’t have anything to do with each other. They are completely different roles (they are also changes in industry).
Changes that are only changes in industry, (but keep the same role) look more like this:
Someone who moves from pharmaceutical sales to sales in the wine and spirits industry. Or someone who is a doctor who decides to open a private practice as a holistic health coach.
Those career changes, while still significant changes, keep much of the old role (sales or healthcare in these examples) intact but change where and how that role is being done. Many career changes look like this.
Some have very closely related roles, and sometimes the role is a little less closely related, but the skills are so transferable that it’s easy to see how to easily plunk the career changer from one job to the other.
What Skills Might Be Transferrable?
So, how can you reimagine your career?
What skills might be transferable for you?
How can you go about creating your own transferable skill list?
You can use the info above, or you can simply download the template I’ve created for you here.
Get the Transferable Skill List Template:
Doing an assessment of your transferable skills will help you leapfrog to almost any job you want.
Of course, there will be jobs that you can’t leapfrog to with your current skills. You need specialized training for some jobs, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t just leap into them.
However, doing an assessment can always help you figure out what the best type of training to get might be.
If you want to be a doctor, it’s pretty clear that you’ll have to go to medical school. But in business for example, there are many different types of training, depending on what you want to do.
Assessing your skills, where you want to go, where your gaps are and how small or large the leaps/gaps might be can help you make decisions about what to do next.