For anyone looking for a new job there’s a buzz phrase about identifying your ‘transferable skills.’  But what does that really mean?

Does it mean that if you worked at Burger King you are now qualified to be a chef at the Ritz Carlton?  Not really.  But, there’s probably some things you did at Burger King that would make you a good candidate for jobs dealing with stressful situations, customer service, meeting quick deadlines, working long hours, etc.  So there is still value from your experiences working in fast food.

And there are more specific and obivious talents and skills that are transferable between jobs and industries.  A professional accountant can theoretically use their skills in similar jobs in different industries.  

Below is a good checklist that will help you build the bridge between different skill sets.  It is still up to you, the job seeker, to make the compelling argument as to how your skills are relevant to the job you are applying.  This checklist can help you brainstorm and perhaps make you think outside the box in terms of how your skills are transferable.

1- Research skills

  • Know how to find and collect relevant background information
  • Be able to analyze data, summarize findings and write a report

2- Critical Thinking skills

  • Be able to review different points of view or ideas and make objective judgments
  • Investigate all the possible solutions to a problem, weighing the pros and cons

3- Organizational skills

  • Be able to organize information, people or things in a systematic way
  • Be able to establish priorities and meet deadlines

4- Problem-solving skills

  • Be able to clarify the nature of a problem
  • Be able to evaluate alternatives, propose viable solutions and determine the outcome of the various options

5- Creative thinking skills

  • Be able to generate new ideas, invent new things, create new images or designs
  • Find new solutions to problems
  • Be able to use wit and humour effectively

6- Analytical/ logical thinking skills

  • Be able to draw specific conclusions from a set of general observations of from a set of specific facts
  • Be able to synthesize information and ideas

7- Public speaking skills

  • Be able to make formal presentations
  • Present ideas, positions and problems in an interesting way

8- Oral communication skills

  • Be able to present information and ideas clearly and concisely with content and style appropriate for the audience
  • Be able to present opinions and ideas in an open, objective way.

9- Adaptability skills

  • Develop the capacity to adapt to new situations and settings
  • Be able to tolerate change well
  • Have flexibility to adapt to the needs of the moment


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