What are Transferable Skills, and Why Do They Matter?
No matter what job you do, there are certain skills every professional needs to succeed in the workplace. First, you need occupation-specific skills, such as Adobe Photoshop if you’re a designer or the ability to put together financial reports if you’re an accountant. And second, you need what’s often referred to as transferable skills — essential skills that are required in most jobs. According to Martin Yate in his Forbes article titled “The 7 Transferable Skills to Help You Change Careers,” these essential skills include:
- Communication: Verbal, listening, writing, and technological communication skills are all needed to communicate effectively with your colleagues, supervisor, and customers.
- Teamwork: This is the ability to work productively and respectfully with a diverse group of people and put the success of the team above your own.
- Technical: Practically every field uses technology nowadays, so you need to continuously stay abreast of relevant developments to do your job well.
- Critical thinking: Analytical and problem solving skills enable you to carefully assess a problem and determine the best possible solution.
- Multitasking: Prioritizing objectives and tasks, as well as efficiently organizing and managing your time are critical skills in today’s fast-paced workplace.
- Leadership: This involves the ability to draw upon all of the previous skills in order to inspire people to enhance their performance and more productive.
- Creativity: Creativity also builds on all the previous skills to provide you with a frame of reference within which you can effectively develop ideas.
So why exactly do transferable skills matter?
Imagine the following situation: You want a promotion, a new job, or even a new career. The new position involves different job responsibilities than the tasks you currently perform on a daily basis. And that’s where transferable skills come in — they form a solid foundation that enables you to function while you learn the technical, occupation-specific skills required for your new role. In other words, you can take them with you from job to job.
At the same time, with well-developed transferable skills, you’ll be a well-rounded professional with the ability to achieve more in the workplace. In short, they make you more employable and help you advance your career — and as Cheryl Lock points out in her FlexJobs article titled “5 Examples of Transferable Skills and Why They’re Important,” it’s always important to include them on your résumé.
Now you know what transferable skills are and why they matter, it’s advisable to spend some time identifying which ones you possess and how well-honed they are. That way, you’ll know which ones to further develop in order to up your game. By doing this, you’ll not only be better prepared for a promotion, job, or career change — you’ll also be more in-demand on the job market.