You may not pay much attention to transferable skills. Perhaps you’re happily employed in your current role, don’t see yourself moving on any time soon, or are busy looking for a new job in the same position as before?
But the truth is that in today’s labour market – where things can change pretty quickly, thanks to a global pandemic – transferable skills will be highly valued by businesses, as more and more Australians find themselves in new jobs or work environments.
Alongside this, businesses now have access to a wider, more varied talent pool made up of those who were let go by their employers as a result of COVID-19. According to Fast Company, there are several benefits of hiring someone outside of your industry so organisations will no doubt take advantage of this when it’s time for them to hire again.
However, in order to leverage off these developing job opportunities, you’ll need to first understand which of your transferable skills are in hot demand in the market, and then know how to sell them on your CV, cover letter and LinkedIn profile.
Essentially, transferable skills are those innate abilities that you’ve acquired both at work environments, but also non-work situations such as volunteering, additional study and education, groups and clubs such as sports, can also contribute to developing certain skills.
Since studies have predicted the average Australian will now have 17 jobs across 5 industries in their lifetime, it’s best to be aware of how your current and upcoming experiences at work will allow you to build up solid transferable skills. Doing so will put you in a much stronger position for the future jobs you’ll be applying for.
Here are three important transferable skills you should focus on.
1. Strong, clear communication skills for workplace success
Regardless of what type of responsibilities your job involves, strong communication skills – both verbal and written – will get you ahead in your career. Why? Because whether you are conveying information internally (your manager, team, colleagues and wider business) or externally (customers, clients and partners), being an effective communicator is critical in doing your job well.
Key communication skills to continually develop are:
- Active listening and reading,
- Speaking clearly and succinctly,
- Writing clearly and succinctly,
- Asking questions, and
- Understanding non-verbal cues.
2. People management equals instant career growth
Understandably, getting into a traditional leadership or management position is going to take some time in your career. But if there are opportunities to lead a few team members in certain responsibilities or entire teams for projects, it absolutely contributes to your experience of people management so be sure to put your hand up when these occasions arise.
Essentially, being a team leader in this sense means training, directing, and motivating staff members to reach a certain goal. This is where you’ll learn how to:
- Manage different personalities,
- Communicate with several work styles,
- Actively listen,
- Problem solve,
- Provide feedback and constructive criticism,
- Deal with conflict resolution,
- Time management,
- Be adaptable and flexible,
- Be patient,
- Begin to develop your own management and leadership style, and
- Better understand the dynamics of overall teamwork.
Most jobs will require some element of people management so you may move up faster with a promotion or be offered a more senior role to someone who doesn’t have the same skills. After all, these are developed through real-life experience.
3. Research and analytical skills will get you ahead
In our fast-paced world of work, making business decisions could mean the difference between success and failure, no matter what function you play in your company.
Making big or small choices, or running processes, that are based on either solid research and data is becoming more and more expected of existing employees and those being hired. Why? Being able to interpret information to produce a well-researched outcome demonstrates that you have considered the factors that could risk failure, you only offer proven and backed methods, and you can pre-empt any challenges and manage expectations with the solutions being put forward. Having research behind you will also give you confidence in your decisions and choices, rather than feeling like it could go either way.
For those of us who do not enjoy looking at numbers in Excel spreadsheets or find it difficult to interpret data in charts and graphs, find someone in your team or organisation who can help you. And the more you look at the numbers and understand how to communicate the data and information, the better you’ll become – and your current employer or future employer will be impressed that you invested in active learning to develop these skills because it's definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.
If you’re ready for your next great role where you can apply your transferable skills, take a look at our current opportunities here.