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Being able to identify and demonstrate a range of highly-developed skills is a very important part of making you stand out from the crowd when you are searching for a new position. I have previously highlighted how you can use your transferable skills as stepping-stones to a new career, but what exactly are transferable skills, and why are they important?

Every employee needs a range of skills in order to perform the job they are paid to do. There are position-specific skills, such as the ability to use Microsoft Office if you are an administrative assistant, or perhaps the ability to understand financial reports if you are an accounting officer. However, as a job-seeker, you will also need what is often referred to as transferable skills – a core set of skills and abilities that are not specific to a role or industry but can be taken from job to job. They are the skills, abilities and knowledge you have acquired and demonstrated through your work, home life and other activities that will be applicable to a whole range of jobs or industries. They are particularly important if you do not have work experience in the position you are applying for.

It is crucial that you take the time to identify and then market your own transferable skills so that a potential employer can clearly see the value that you will bring to their business. Consider the list below and identify how your training, work and life experiences could be used to demonstrate those skills that are critical in every workplace, and highly desirable to all employers.

  • Organisational Skills: Can you effectively multi-task, plan, prioritise and manage your time?
  • Communication Skills: Do you possess effective verbal, listening, and written communication skills in order to liaise with clients, co-workers and management?
  • People Skills: Can you demonstrate the ability to work with a diverse range of people and contribute to team goals? Are you a good facilitator? Do others find you trustworthy, loyal and compassionate?
  • Leadership Skills: Are you a coach or mentor with the ability to inspire and motivate others? Are you able to negotiate and delegate?
  • Administrative Skills and Technological Literacy: Are you proficient in a range of software, can undertake data entry with a high level of accuracy, pay attention to detail, and able to meet deadlines?
  • Financial Management: Can you manage and complete projects within budget? Can you analyse and produce financial reports and seek out sources of funding?
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Are you able to analyse, identify gaps and develop a plan of action in order to solve problems?
  • Creativity: Is innovation and creative thinking some of your core strengths?

This is not a definitive list, but it is an excellent starting point for you to think about how you can embed a wide range of transferrable skills into a CV or resume, a cover letter or in an interview. Highlighting your strengths in these highly desirable areas helps a potential employer to see how you could be the perfect fit for a role in their business, even though you may not have work experience in a similar role.

And remember, any worthwhile organisation should be looking at your capability to do the job, and your future potential as a member of their team – and not focusing solely on your previous work experience.