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April 30, 2020

Transferable Skills and Your Career

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Transferable skills are the skills you build up throughout your employment, education and life that are non-technical and don’t belong to a particular industry or role. They can often be used in many ways in the workplace, and can be transferred as you move between jobs and industries.

We spoke to 21 people at 17 of WORK180’s Endorsed Employers to find out what they think the most valuable transferable skills are, and where we should focus our attention in terms of building those ‘soft’ skills.

Communication and Adaptability Comes Top

Of the 21 people polled, 19 of them chose communication and adaptability as a key transferable skills to develop.

Communication can be written, visual or verbal and is influenced by facial expression and body language, and applies to any number of audiences – executive to junior employees, internal and external, technical and non-technical. Developing your ability to communicate in many ways to different audiences is crucial as you move through your career.

The current situation and transition due to COVID-19 highlights perfectly why adaptability is so important for resilient employees. While the current change is pretty extreme, the world is always changing and employers value people being able to adapt and roll with the changes, and continue being productive in a changing work landscape.

Additional Skills

After communication and adaptability, the key transferable skills identified as important for career advancement are:

  • Critical thinking
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Creative thinking

The highlighted skills show that being able to work with people and think outside the box are important. Work is collaborative, and we achieve much more when we work together and engage the full diversity of thinking within our teams. Additionally, there are rarely simple solutions to problems at work and in the world, and thinking more broadly about solutions makes it more likely that we’ll have a positive outcome.

Consistent with the skills around relationships and collaboration, some Endorsed Employers highlighted emotional intelligence, stakeholder management and influence and relationship building as important skills to develop.

What Else Endorsed Employers Highlighted

Some of our Endorsed Employers offered additional suggestions for important transferable skills to develop. Martha Creedon, a Senior Talent Acquisition Recruiter at Splunk shares,

“Resilience is an obvious skill through a major macroeconomic challenge such as COVID-19, and I see this as critical in everyday situations in the work place as well as home life. Those with high levels of resilience and critical thinking will adapt quicker, bounce back quicker and find the motivation and positivity to continue during challenging times.”

Ross Dvorak, a Manager at Ericsson said, “it’s not a skill, but to me integrity is foundation to everything.” We talk at WORK180 about bringing your whole self to work, and living in your integrity certainly makes many people happier at work and in their daily life.

Focusing on innovation, proactivity and problem-solving was highlighted by a number of contributors, as in this changing world we need to be able to think beyond what’s obvious and in front of us.

Additional Contributors

Thanks go to all the Endorsed Employers who contributed to our survey to give more significance to the answers.

Calibre Group
Powerlink Queensland
Altis Consulting
Rheinmetall Defence Australia
Energy Safe Victoria
BAE Systems

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About the Author
WORK180 promotes organizational standards that raise the bar for women in the workplace. We only endorse employers that are committed to making real progress so that all women can expect better.

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job.