Occasionally there’s a point where you start to think about what could have been? What if we’d have taken our exams more seriously? What if we’d taken that job? What if we’d pushed ourselves more? The “What If” factor can drive you crazy, but “what if” you decided to try and find a job you did want and you did enjoy?

In some circumstances, it might mean making some massive changes to your life and those of the people around you, but making that change might not necessarily mean starting from scratch, because you’re bound to have skills that you can apply to a new job.

Transferrable skills are ones that you’ve gathered through various jobs, volunteer work, hobbies, even life experience; they can all be used in a change of career.

The best place to start is to make a list of the jobs you’ve had and what each position ACTUALLY entailed, not what was written in your job description, because let’s face it, sometimes these two things are very different.

If you’re re-entering the workforce after a career break then make a list of your life experiences, hobbies or volunteer work and look at the skills you’ve gained through those.

Your transferable skills can be things such as

  • An ability to plan and arrange events and activities.
  • Delegating responsibility
  • Design skills – clothes / furniture / leaflets etc.
  • Managing finances
  • Language skills – specify which language and how and when you’ve used it.
  • Ability to use sign language / read braille
  • You can motivate others.
  • Deal with obstacles and crises
  • Present written and oral material
  • Manage your time effectively.
  • Keeping records
  • Handling complaints
  • Coaching others
  • Researching projects.
  • Computer skills

If you’re looking to change careers, then it’s always good to chat to someone in that industry or try and arrange some work experience. That way you’ll get a real sense of whether it’s for you and you can also assess what transferable skills you have that would benefit the job and / or if you’ll need to do any additional training.

IT skills are important in most jobs and again just because you don’t have a formal qualification doesn’t mean you don’t have IT skills. You might have used a computer every day in a previous job or you might use your home computer to keep a track of family finances. If you’re not confident your IT skills are strong enough then do an ECDL course (European Computer Driving Licence) They are great for beginners or people wanting to brush up on their skills. In some cases, taking the course can be free.

Languages are another skill that is easily transferable between jobs, they might not necessarily be mentioned on the job specification, but speaking an extra language can often make you stand out.

Communication skills, people management and working in a team are skills that we pick up in our career and our private lives. We sometimes fail to realize how important they are when applying for a new role. For example, if you’ve organized a village fete for your community or put together a team of fundraisers, it’s worth mentioning these on your CV. These are important transferable skills.

If you think you need to brush up on some of your skills, then check out what your local college has on offer or maybe investigate the possibility of an online course. These are great because you can fit them in around your family life or current job.

Whatever it is you really want to do, then there’s always a way to make it happen…… it’s time to Be Spotted! Good luck!


Be Spotted

One thought on “The “What If?” Factor – How to Make the Most of your Transferrable Skills

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