Transferable skills are those that can be adapted between jobs; they are not specific to a single role. Building these skills greatly expands your career options because they have broad appeal to potential employers. It is important to develop a ‘personal brand’ at work – how you utilise and develop these skills is what will impress prospective employers.
Below are key transferable skills that you should develop to ensure you’re on the right path to career progression.
1. Communication and networking skills
It is important to display excellent communication skills in your relations with colleagues, your employer, clients, and beyond. Good communication is about conveying thoughts and ideas effectively, as well as listening to others and understanding what they are attempting to communicate. Key communication skills include:
• Speaking effectively and writing concisely
• Listening carefully and providing feedback
• Expressing ideas and feelings constructively
• Negotiating with and persuading others
• Presentation and training skills
• Written communication – email, digital media savvy and report-writing
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Employers value personable candidates who can display first-rate networking skills, as these are constantly used in most workplaces. You never know where your next job lead might come from: building a big network of acquaintances increases the chance of job opportunities occurring.
From meeting a colleague in person, to posting on social media networks, your communication skills are continuously on display. Make sure that your communication style matches your personal brand and that you come across well through all mediums.
2. Leadership and management skills
Effective leadership and management is about directing and motivating others to achieve individual, team and company goals. If you have aspirations to progress higher within your organisation, focus on finding opportunities to take the lead on projects and showcase your managerial ability. Develop transferable skills by showing how well you can manage others.
Key transferable skills include:
• Managing groups and delegating responsibilities
• Planning and coordinating tasks
• Solving problems and managing conflict
• Making and implementing decisions
• Motivating, coaching and training others
Businesses are constantly changing and evolving; they need employees who can respond to external influences, showing leadership through times of change. Candidates who show that they’ve been proactive or innovative when responding to difficult situations are able to impress recruiters with their leadership and management skills.
3. Planning and research skills
Planning and research skills enable you to articulate needs and formulate a strategy to accomplish specific objectives. Many roles require these skills, and employers look for candidates who are proactive in being able to carry out cross-channel research. Keeping ahead of industry developments is key and employers value individuals who are proactive, and understand the best sources to research relevant projects.
Transferable skills in planning and research can include:
• Using tech tools to streamline processes
• Identifying needs and required resources
• Setting goals and identifying courses of action
• Gathering relevant information and evaluating results
• Forecasting, predicting and monitoring situations
• Analysing, interpreting and disseminating information
4. Teamwork and interpersonal skills
These skills are about the contribution you make to groups and the way you relate to and interact with others to achieve a common goal. Employers highly value this skill, as most job roles require you to work with others on tasks. Employers are looking for candidates who will make the transition to a new team stress-free.
Key transferable skills include:
· Stakeholder management skills
· Sharing credit and accepting responsibility
· Contributing and encouraging the ideas of others
· Developing rapport and respecting other opinions
· Negotiation and influencing others
· Modifying communication to suit the situation (flexibility)
5. Self-management skills
Self-management is about how you direct your own activities toward the achievement of objectives. Employers are looking for candidates who can get jobs done efficiently, and through self-motivation.
Transferable skills in self-management include:
· Agility and ability to prioritise tasks on your own
· Change management and the ability to thrive in a changing environment
· Setting goals, meeting deadlines and solving problems
· Working well under pressure and accepting responsibility
· Ability to get along well with others
· Self-evaluation and decision-making
Transferable skills are important in any role. However, when considering which skills to focus on developing, also be mindful of the specific, technical skills your next employer will be looking for. Stay up to date with industry publications and trends so you know what skills are particularly valued in your career.
Jobs often have specific technical requirements, so look for resources or courses to upskill and make sure you stay up-to-date with developments in your industry.
For more career advice, check out our careers hub here.
Transferable skills are important for any candidate looking to progress in their career. Key skills to develop include:
- Communication skills
- Leadership and management skills
- Planning and research skills
- Teamwork and interpersonal skills
- Self-management skills