Categorizing Your Skills: Transferable Skills


This post courtesy of information in a Georgia Department of Labor presentation:  “Why Some People Stay Unemployed.”

“You’re a nice person, but what can you do?”

Skills are one of the most important things you have to convey to a prospective employer.  If you had to name your five most important and valuable skills right now, what would you say they are?  Here is a way to organize your thinking about skills as you prepare for an interview.

 Skills come in three basic categories: Transferable skills, Job Skills, and Personal Management Skills. 

Transferable Skills are common to a number of jobs and can be adapted to a particular job’s need.  We also call these Foundational Skills when we assess them in the Florida Ready to Work certification.  The foundational skills we measure are Reading for information, Locating Information, and Applied Mathematics.   Other transferable skills might include customer service, public speaking, supervision, handling money, operating equipment, and mastering software. You can find a list of transferable skills here.  

Transferable or Foundational skills are especially important when you are changing jobs or industries.  It’s your responsibility to help a potential employer understand how what you’ve done on the job in the past will help you perform on the job you’re applying for.  The formula for doing that in the interview might look something like this:

  1. IDENTIFY THE SKILL
    Handling Money (cashier, retail sales, bank teller)
  2. PRESENT A CONCRETE EXAMPLE
    Describe where and for how long you used this skill
    “I had one year of experience at XYZ Department Store.
  3. QUALIFY EXAMPLE: DESCRIBE CIRCUMSTANCES
    who, what, when, why, how
    “I assisted approximately 100 customers per day – operated a cash register and calculated discounts – processed credit card and cash payments and returns.”
  4. REINFORCE WITH MEASURABLE DATA
    numbers, dollars, percentages, volume per month, year, etc.

 “Our department took in about $7,000 in sales a shift.  I had to balance my cash drawer at the end of each shift, and our performance was rated on how accurate the balance was.  I also tracked my own sales each month and received a bonus based on sales.  I was top associate in the region twice during my year with XYZ; I topped the $15,000 mark during the holiday sales season and once during our big spring sale.”

Next Post:  Job Content Skills

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