Skill mapping focusing on your transferable skills with expert career coach Emilia Deseille
Any experienced career coach will ask you to write down all the things that you enjoy doing, you feel you’re good at, others compliment you for or come to you for help. What are your super-powers?
It doesn’t matter whether you consider it marketable or not, if your colleagues value your presentation, proofreading or time management skills then you should definitely add them to your CV.
A bit of self-reflection can go a long way, so take some time alone and (ideally) write down 10 qualities that you’re most proud of and 2-3 accomplishments in your career.
Think of what motivates you?
What makes you tick?
What makes you get up in the morning?
What are you really passionate about?
What strengths you have and would like to reinforce or be known for.
Identifying your skills can be important preparations also for filling in the´´About Me´´ section on your LinkedIn profile.
Changing jobs or even careers? Keep your transferable skills in mind!
"Transferable skills are skills you can utilize in many different professional fields, and thus form the backbone of your skillset. Examples of sought-after transferable skills may vary between creativity, project management, understanding of sustainability, or digital skills such as being able to use a certain software, so we are talking about a wide spectrum of skills to spice up your professional profile.
Transferable skills can hence include both so-called hard and soft skills.
The good news are: you can develop transferable skills in many fields of your life, not only at work or studies but also in your spare time activities and private life in general.
Identifying and marketing your transferable skills is arguably important for everyone’s career planning, but in certain situations, it is even more crucial: when starting your career, and when changing careers. In these two situations, it is very typical to feel insecure and even doubt your own value to an employer, but this will change when you start digging deeper and acknowledge that even if you had not worked in that specific field or task yet, you already do have a plethora of skills to bring you further in your new tasks.
But how to dig deeper on your transferable skills?
Make sure to note down for yourself, what are the most crucial skills needed to succeed
1) in your new aspired job/professional field, and
2) in those jobs and professional fields you already have experience in, plus in your spare time activities and other fields of private life.
Then compare these two lists – which similarities can be spotted? Argumentation is the key, so make sure to also think of, and write down, concrete examples of how you have demonstrated those skills earlier in your life that now are relevant in the new aspired job or professional field, to help the potential employer to envision you in this new task. If this part makes you struggle, make use of the questions mentioned in the beginning of this article, helping you to reflect on your super-powers based on e.g. others’ positive feedback.
Identifying your transferable skills is relevant also to those of us not currently in the midst of a career shift. Usually, soft skills, including transferable skills, are the ones that make the difference especially when hiring a generalist. However, this can be expanded to basically any recruitment process, in which two or more candidates have a similar background in terms of e.g. education and work history, and can be distinguished by looking into their transferable and/or soft skills. This applies to standing out in your professional field in general:
“Workers in traditionally soft-skilled jobs will benefit from cultivating the hard skills that will show employers that they are equipped to keep pace with technological developments in their sector. Job seekers and employees in technology-oriented and specialized jobs can distinguish themselves by enhancing the soft skills that will enable them to add value beyond narrow applications of technology.” (Source: The Balance Careers)
Categories such as soft or hard skills, transferable skills and so on can be helpful in making you discover your whole skillset, but try not to get stuck on these categories – what matters the most is being able to identify your own skills and match them with employers’ skills needs." concludes Emilia.
Unlike hard skills, soft skills can’t always be measured and are often related to human interaction, such as empathy, confidence, adaptability and of course, my favorite, problem solving. Why is problem solving so valued? People are challenged everyday by new situations that require them to think fast and identify the root cause of the problem. Keeping calm and maintaining focus can be the first step in finding the solution. Analyzing facts and making decisions quickly based on the existing information can often make the difference between life and death if we would ask a firefighter or a surgeon. ´Regardless of your professional field, being able to offer solutions to a potential employer’s pain points is one of the key strategies to stand out during a recruitment process.’ adds Emilia.
A sought-after, transferable skill in most industries is teamwork. Collaboration is appreciated whether you work in McDonalds or NASA, so never underestimate the power of building relationships.
From negotiating hostages to directing the air traffic, being able to understand people and situations can make you a gamechanger, no wonder active listening is such a valuable trait in employees.
Confidence is what lies beneath most people’s charisma, and just like authenticity, can be spotted by having a different approach on doing things or speaking opinions honestly (even if that would make someone less popular sometimes). Confidence can be as simple as a strong handshake, or in a direct eye contact, but it’s something that most people can recognize immediately when seeing it.
When it comes to soft skills, remember at least to always back them up with by using the STAR technique to think through your most relevant examples, looking for something specific and within the context of your daily responsibilities. ( https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-is-the-star-interview-response-technique-2061629 )
Also, while job searching, focus less on the job title and more on the tasks, the skills required, the tools and processes involved. Here are some resources to consider while looking for ways to evaluate your skills, competences, career aptitude and personality: