Too many professionals downplay or even overlook a specific set of skills that they've developed over the course of their career — especially when they're looking to make a significant career change or venture out as an independent contractor, freelancer or consultant. These skills are called transferable skills. Yes ... it's a very unsexy name, but don't let that fool you.
What are transferable skills?
These are portable and powerful skills that you can take with you to any job or take with you as you become an independent professional or business owner.
Here are some examples of transferable skills:
Research and Analysis
Some people refer to these skills as "soft skills." While that label makes them sound second class, most companies say, right now, that's far from the truth. Why are these transferable skills so in demand right now? Well, frankly, employers are having a hard time filling positions and these transferable skills are much harder to train for.
Too many new hires have the right degree and the right hard skills, but they may not have an ounce of empathy or be able to communicate or collaborate worth beans.
I can tell you from personal experience trying to train someone to be empathetic or to adapt under pressure or become a solid leader is nearly impossible.
Apparently, organizations feel the same way right now. 70% of companies say they're willing to hire and train someone with transferable skills. And, within your current organization, transferable skills may also give you the upper hand. 71% of internal recruiters say they're likely to train someone with transferable skills, compared to only 58% of external recruiters that say they'll do the same thing. (Source: Monster)
So what does this mean?
Sit down and do a deep inventory of your transferable skills. Then, take a look at your résumé and make sure you've included them in your summary or your cover letter.
Most importantly, look beyond your resume for a moment and recognize the value those soft skills bring to the table.
Transferable skills should allow you to move forward with a new sense of confidence in your career.
Don't assume that because you don't have all the hard skills listed in a job description that you're out. Those soft skills that you've perfected over time are gold and may be exactly what set you apart.
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