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Samantha Greenfield

Transferable skills and marketing your added value


Unlike job-related skills, which tend to be used only in one type of work, transferable skills are skills that can be used in every occupation, regardless of the type of work. They are universal skills -- you can transfer them from one type of work to another without much effort on your part or training from the employer.

Many employers think that if you are able to use the skill in one situation, you should be able to use that skill in another job, even if the work appears to be unrelated to your past employment or educational experience.

For this reason, your transferable skills are often more important than your job-related skills. This is especially true if you are changing careers or making the transition from school to work.

Suppose that an automobile mechanic wants a job repairing household appliances. The mechanic should emphasize general mechanical skills, not specific automotive skills.

The household appliance employer will be interested in the mechanic's general skills: Can the mechanic use hand tools? Can the mechanic troubleshoot, repair, adjust, and maintain mechanical devices? The employer does not care that the mechanic can grind pistons, rebuild carburetors, and adjust ignition timing.

In identifying your transferable skills, do not overlook the skills you have gained from everyday living. Most jobseekers fail to see this potential. These skills can, however, help you meet and exceed an employer's expectations.

Let us say you sell Mary Kay or Avon. Although this may not be your full time job, you are still using skills that you may be able to apply to your next job.

As a Mary Kay salesperson, you may set up sales appointments, manage financial transactions, market your product and educate your customer on goods and services. If you are applying for a position as an administrative assistant, these skills and experience could be of value to your next employer.

By identifying and properly marketing your transferable skills as an added value to potential employers you will be setting yourself apart from the rest of the applicants because you have more to offer.

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