Maximize Your Potential in a Changing Job Market with Transferable Skills
Updated: May 5
The continuing COVID-19 crisis presents many challenges and questions for both job seekers and those actively working. Careers are rapidly changing in nature as our society leans more heavily on technology and the internet while adjusting to social distancing requirements. Many people question whether their skills will still be relevant as the job market responds to the demands of a post-COVID world. While there is no set way to ensure career success in turbulent times, it is certain that job seekers will need to evaluate their experience and skills to match the job needs of a changing society.
This process can be daunting, particularly for individuals whose jobs rely on interpersonal strengths more than tech-savviness. They may worry that their experience will become obsolete or that they’ll need to change their skillset completely in order to continue to be competitive in this evolving job market. While pursuing continuing education is always a good idea to keep abreast of the latest information and learn new techniques and processes, pre-existing skills of all types are more valuable than many people realize.
It is critical to look at the ways that your current skills, talents, and abilities can support different job requirements.
“Transferable skills” are both skills that are required for very specific tasks as well as those considered to be typical or ordinary like organization or time management which can be generalized to many different positions.
Identifying your transferable skills is a crucial step in representing yourself well and maximizing your potential in a changing job market.
A good way to start this process is by making a list of all the skills you use on a consistent basis. This may include specific task-related capabilities that you use at your current job, more general skills such as customer service or phone etiquette, or abilities that you’ve developed as a result of your lifestyle like the ability to manage multiple schedules, a skill often strengthened by parenting, and aptitudes that you’ve cultivated as a result of volunteer experiences, continuing education, and formal training.
As you review your list, make note of the “soft skills” that relate to each item. For example, if you volunteer at the local food bank and have identified organization as a skill, you may also consider listing teamwork or the ability to work under pressure as additional skills. For specific, task-related job skills, think about the general aptitudes they require - the specific skill interfacing with others might require additional skills like verbal communication and close attention to detail.
As unemployment continues to rise, hiring managers have even less time to review applicants, which is why it is essential to highlight transferable skills throughout the job searching process. Career professionals know the ins and outs of the hiring process and can help you identify and enhance the skills you already have. A professional résumé writer can optimize your résumé to call out your transferable skills and teach you how best to communicate your value and to match the positions you are seeking.
Active members of the workforce can also benefit from a better understanding of their transferable skills as their jobs adapt to the changing needs of a more digital society. Career professionals help job seekers to use existing skills to their advantage to increase job security, pursue career advancement, and even enhance income. No one can know for sure all of the ways that the job market will change as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, so using transferable skills to your benefit is a way to be prepared for and showcase your strengths and abilities in these unprecedented times.