Transferable Skills and Skill based CVs
want to change careers or extend your options it is worth considering what your
transferable skills are.
Transferable skills are the skills you have acquired through various jobs,
volunteer work, hobbies, sports or other life experiences that can be used in
your next job or new career. In addition to being useful to career changers,
transferable skills are also important to those who are facing a layoff, new
graduates who are looking for their first job, and to those re-entering the
workforce after an extended absence.
Job titles tell little about what your actual job entailed. It is important to
dissect each job you’ve held in order to discover what skills you actually used
to do that job. Transferable skills can be role-related, technical or general
skills that can be put to use in a variety of jobs across a number of
Generic skills high on employers' wish lists include IT, numeracy and languages.
Other general skills include:
planning – working to deadlines
liaison and negotiating skills
management and leadership
Good customer facing skills can apply across the retail industry. Managerial
skills are applicable across sectors.
The key is leadership, and businesses
across the board are on the hunt for managers with proven leadership qualities.
In your job application and interviews, employers will be really impressed if
you can provide examples of when you used these skills in different jobs. This
shows you’re adaptable and can bring useful skills to a job straight away.
Work through the jobs and tasks you have done and for each task write down what
skills you used, the level e.g. highly skilled, moderately skilled and needs
improvement. Mark those skills you enjoy doing. Promote those that you enjoy and
are highly skilled. Retain lists of those you enjoy and are moderately good at
and things you enjoy doing but need more training or experience in. Here are
some suggestions, not exhaustive but could form the start of a considered list:-
Plan and arrange events and activities
Attend to visual detail
Assess and evaluate my own work
Assess and evaluate others' work
Deal with obstacles and crises
Present written material
Present material orally
Repair equipment or machinery
Handle general accounts including invoices, taxation and VAT
Good with statistics, economics and financial markets
Coordinate fundraising activities
Build or construct
Design buildings, furniture, etc.
Speak a foreign language (specify language)
Use sign language
Utilize computer software (specify programs)
Train or teach others
Identify and manage ethical issues
In looking through job advertisements you have to assess
what skills might be needed in the job. Recruitment
agencies have a good overview of sectors and will be able to let you know if you
have the right transferable skills to move over and additional training you
See what transferable skills you have that might apply to the job vacancy. Next
you have to convince a potential employer.
One way of achieving this is to write an objective that tells which
skills are applicable to the position you are seeking. The other way is to write
a skills based resume – either functional or combination resume. A functions
resume describes each of your skills. A combination resume combines a functional
resume with a chronological resume, listing your work experience in addition to
your skills. A functional CV helps if you
are looking in a new area for a career, if you have gaps in your employment
history, if you have had a lot of jobs and want to describe the experience you
got as a whole and if you want to highlight skills you have gained in previous
jobs but that you don’t use in your current or most recent job.
Agencies in particular often do not like skills based functional resume. They
want key word matches and a clear indication of having done similar work of the
same kind in the recent past – it makes their work easier.
Employers may not like them thinking that
it is an attempt to hide something (such as gaps in work history) and being an
unusual format they may not know how to best read it.
As fewer jobs are advised directly you
are stuck with applying through an agency or numerous cold calling firms on the
off chance of there being a vacancy – although many companies advise their
Your covering letter needs to sound positive about previous work experience and
keen for new challenges.