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Transferable skills – a life raft during career transition

‘Never lay all your eggs in one basket.’ I was told many times growing up. It was used more about people and friendships, which come and go. Nothing lasts forever. This is true for careers too. Changing careers is on the minds of many. Changing industry is a must for some.

And transferable skills are your life raft. 

What is a transferable skill?
The portable skills and abilities that are relevant and helpful across different areas of life: socially, professionally and at school/ university.

Look at your life as a journey and you will find many examples of skills you learnt along the way.

Your rucksack of experience is fuller than you think!

How to identify your transferable skills
Identifying your transferable skills takes a bit of time, patience and might need support. Once you start, you will soon realise you have more skills than you thought. And it can turn into an empowering, fun journey of self-discovery.

But where do you start?

I invite you to do the exercise below. Begin with a confident mindset.

And adapt the exercise to different stages of your life. Don’t neglect your expat assignment/volunteer experience abroad, childhood passion or Saturday job. Everything counts.

Step 1       List your key accomplishments

  • What are you mega proud of?
  • Why?
  • What have you created that has made a difference to you and others?

Step 2       Dig out fabulous feedback

  • What feedback have you received that you can use now?
  • Which wise words have stuck with you? How have they made a difference to you, your attitude, your work?
  • What do people in your life appreciate about you? Ask friends, family and colleagues.

Step 3       From thinking to inking  

  • Write down your TOP five HARD and SOFT skills
  • For each skill, find an example to support it
  • Use a highlighter to mark which skills you can use in a future role

Any surprises?

Step 4       Get creative

  • Weave these skills into your CV profile and on LinkedIn
  • Include these skills in your motivation paragraph in a job application
  • Prepare (and practice) an empowering elevator pitch with at least one TOP skill

Your side gig is a great source of transferable skills
Embracing roles outside your organization can help you prosper within your current role. Many people start a side gig to pursue a passion and make some extra cash. Others volunteer to support initiatives in their local community. Both are opportunities to enhance your skills, knowledge and develop a network.

And both are hidden sources for transferable skills.

There’s power in the pack
Who else can help?

Reach out to a trusted mentor or colleague who can give you a fresh perspective.

Expand your own network via your immediate network. Widen your circle of potential allies by connecting with people (with a message) and joining groups on LinkedIn.

If you’re still struggling to identify your skills and craft your message, consider hiring a coach. A conversation that matters can move you forward leaps and bounds.

Any additional success tips to share on how YOU identified your transferable skills?

Photo by McKayla Crump on Unsplash

Karin Weiser

Karin Weiser

International Business Coach (ICF-ACC) and Writer

Transition Specialist who supports ambitious professionals in transition in their career and life with conversations that matter. I help ambitious professionals to write the next chapter of their career story. To own it, walk it and talk it. I have rewritten my story many times - moved countries, climbed the corporate ladder, zigzagged in my career. I stand for diversity, well-being and lifelong learning. In 2019 I took a life leap to self-employment. Proud to be a Psychologies Ambassador and ICF Barefoot certified coach (ACC). My WHY is to have a positive impact on people - in person, virtually and through words. British by birth, global by choice - I'm based in Copenhagen and work globally. My personal recipe for a balanced life includes a splash of optimism, yoga and dark chocolate.