Transferring Your Skills to Meet the Needs of Today’s Job Market
The days of staying with one employer until you receive the gold watch at retirement are long gone. Most of us will have numerous jobs in our lifetime. Regardless of how we obtained these jobs, we acquired a host of skills that became transferrable. Many people ignore their skill achievement and assume that what they are doing is part of their daily job requirement. They do not take the time to examine or even recognize how their growing skills have become key attributes to their career growth and success.
Increasing your skill set
Perhaps your job requires you to interact with the customer. The majority of the time your interaction is via the phone. But as the company has grown, you now have an internet customer base to manage. Your job expanded to managing incoming phone calls as well as monitoring the internet customer base. You just increased your skill set.
Each time your job requires a step outside of your job description or job role, you are obtaining enhanced knowledge and skills. The tricky part for most people is that they fail to recognize the value of those skills and, more importantly, how the newly acquired skills are transferrable to other opportunities both within and outside their company. If you are not sure if your skills are transferrable, try the following exercise. Make a list of all the skills you currently perform in your present job role. Now, add those tasks that you used in former job roles. Are you seeing a growth pattern?
Technology skills are also often ignored. Have you kept up with the latest technology? Do you use the new social networking sites? Are you familiar with Twitter, NING, etc.? Are you aware of the latest search engines and use advanced phones to research your competitors? Think of how your on-the- job training has helped to increase your technology skills, knowledge and abilities (SKAs) by using new software and tools. These new SKAs can be utilized in other capacities with other companies and industries. Finally, how would another company benefit from your technology skills? These are many questions, but many people are finding themselves looking for work or unable to land their ideal job right out of college. People need to assess their technology skills and articulate its value.
To take another example of transferrable skills from the public relations area: Your goal is to work in an advertising agency. You utilize your “critical thinking” skills and conduct a web search of jobs with the ad agencies. At this point and time, nothing looks promising. You could procrastinate and wait for the economy to turnaround, or you can hone your skills, build a skills inventory and learn how to frame a “30 second commercial” that will position you for the job of your dreams. Other industries could use a public relations team member. You can expand your search from ad agencies to hospitals, airlines or non-profit companies. The list of potential employers is only limited to your imagination.
Whether your transferrable skills are in customer service or public relations, you have to position yourself with a resumé and be able to answer the inevitable question during the job interview: Tell me about yourself. This is when you can demonstrate and elaborate on how your transferrable skills can help the company succeed while furthering your career goals.