Transferable Skills

by Waller Jamison

Transferable skills are a very important part of your "ammunition" when it comes to looking for a new job or considering training for a new career, but what exactly are "transferable skills"?

Quite simply, they are things you can do in one area of your life which can be used somewhere else.

Do you tell your family the plans for the day, get them to pick things up or persuade them to wash the dishes? Do you make sure they are out of the house on time, or at the table when dinner is served?

If you answered yes to all, or at least some of the above, you have demonstrated an extensive range of skills, such as effective time management, negotiating and good communication skills. Now, you may not give them such grand titles, but if you were filling in a job application form. .

You've been picking up skills from the moment you were born. The problem is that you take most of your skills for granted.

That's something we've got to change! So grab a pen and paper, get yourself a cup of coffee and let's get started.

Below are a couple of exercises to help you brainstorm your transferable skills. These are lighthearted - but will make you aware of some very useful skills. The exercises are more fun if done with friends, perhaps over coffee or a bottle of wine.

Exercise 1

Home Economics

If you have mastered, or even bluffed your way, in the art of house cleaning, you have picked up some heavy-duty skills. There are plenty of professional qualifications out there in subjects like Cleaning and Housekeeping, designed for people planning to clean offices or hospitals, or work in the hospitality industry. But professional cleaning is probably done using exactly the same skills that you use to clean your home.

So, all those household competencies go on your list.

Get a thesaurus, go online or simply use your imagination to come up with as many different words as you can for household tasks.

Design a syllabus for a degree in housework - after all you can do a degree in surfing these days (the watery kind). Would it be a BA or a BSc? Come up with a list of course topics for each. By the end of this exercise you should have a detailed skills inventory.

And we haven't even touched on Parenting Skills

A search on Google came up with 143,000 sites on parenting skills.

Exercise 2

If you have kids, or have looked after other people's children or indeed, big children, sometimes known as adults, check out a few of those sites and get out a pen and paper. You'll come up with an impressive skillsbase.

A few examples to get you going.

Relationship building
Keeping calm
Staying in control of the situation
Helping kids find their own solutions to problems

Just how many of these would you say were transferable?

By now you should have a list of skills which you can apply to work outside the home. If you need more help with this, the full article is available as part of the package "9 Steps to Resume and CV Success".