Transferable Skills and Their Importance in Changing Careers

Whether you’re looking for a new job or switching to a new career, one of the aspects we have to evaluate is our skill set. Our skills are critical when making a change because, like any other job, employers seek specific skills that define our ability to work for their company.

Our skill set is defined by our knowledge, abilities, and experience we have that are often categorized into hard skills, soft skills, and transferable skills. They all play a role in the career we have now and will in the future depending on the direction we choose to take. If we plan on switching careers, we need to assess our skills and which of them are transferable skills.

But first, what are transferable skills?

They are skills and abilities that are relevant and transferable across different areas of our lives mostly our professional life. Often they are referred to as “soft skills” or “core skills” since they apply to any career and situation. Transferable skills are categorized into interpersonal, communication, technical, and organizational skills.  

They’re skills we acquire through schooling, internships, work experience, and voluntary work which demonstrate we’re adaptable and can fit the job regardless of previous experience if it isn’t relevant.

So, why is it critical to have transferable skills?

With how workforce and industries are changing, we need to have more than knowledge in our field of study. We need to have skills and abilities that demonstrate we can adapt and communicate in work environments and function effectively and efficiently within a team and also individually. It is a skill set showing our competency in a business world where we’re expected to communicate, network, team build, and have leadership.

These skills are becoming valuable and essential to have and develop since employers not only look into finding employees that fit the job, but also fit in the work environment and the work culture that has been created. It lets employers know what you can bring to the table, what you’ve learned from other work experiences, how quickly you learn, and if you’re an asset. Having transferable skills indicate you can be an asset to a company regardless the experience if you are planning on switching careers.

Taking a few minutes to assess our skills and which are transferable from one career to another is critical to pinpoint in marketing ourselves to the profession and industry we want to work for. It lets us know what we need to work and improve on and what other abilities we need to acquire whether through schooling or on our own.